tv Impeachment Trial of President Trump CSPAN January 23, 2020 1:00pm-3:01pm EST
waiting for the senate to get underway. our live shot from the senate chamber provided by the u.s. senate, majority leader waiting for the chief justice to adhere shortly and the senators will stand as per the rules when he does. keep in mindso far 16 hours 45 minutes left for the house managers to present their case .
likely today and tomorrow and the president's defense team will get an equal amount, 24 hours to present their case. following that senators will have 16 hours during which they can ask questions. they asked those questions through a written form presented bythis chief justice. 16 hours will follow that and a potential debate and decision on whether they will allow witnesses and further evidence . >> the senate will convene as acourt of impeachment. the chaplain will lead us in prayer . >> let us pray. almighty god, our rock of ages.
be omnipresent during this impeachment trial, providing our senators with the ushering awareness of your powerful involvement. may they strive to have a clear conscience in whatever they do for you and country. lord, help them remember that listening is often more than hearing. it can be an empathetic attentiveness that builds bridges and unites. may our senators not permit fatigue or cynicism to jeopardize friendships that have existed for years.
journalist proceedings of the trial are approved today. the sergeant at arms willmake the proclamation . >> hear ye, hear the, all persons are commanded to keep silent on pain of imprisonment while the senate of the united states is sitting for the trial of the articles of impeachment presented by the house of representatives against donald john trump , president of the united states . >>mister chief justice . >> majority leader is recognized. >> it's my understanding the schedule will be similar to yesterday's proceedings and we will plan to take short breaks every two or three hours and we will accommodate a 30 minute recess for dinner assuming that is needed. >> thank you. pursuant to the provisions of senate resolution 483, managers of the house of
representatives at 16 hours 42 minutes remaining to make the presentation of their case. the senate will now hear you. presiding officer denies his manager schiff to continue the presentation of the case for the house of representatives. >> thank you chief justice and thank you to the senators for now to very long days. we are greatly appreciative chief justice knowing that prior to your arrival in the chamber each day you have a lot of work at the court necessitating our beginning in the afternoon and going into the evening, but i also want to take this opportunity to thank the senators for their long and considerable attention over the course of the last two days. i'm not sure that chief justice is fully aware of just how rare it is, how extraordinary it is for the house members to be able to command the attention of
senators sitting silently for hours. or even four minutes, for that matter. of course, it doesn't hurt that the morning darts out every day with the sergeant of arms warning you that if you don't, you willbe in prison . it's our hope when the trial concludes, you've heard us and you've heard the presidents council over a series of long days that you don't use imprisonment instead of anything further. two days ago, we made the case for documents and for witnesses in the trial . yesterday we walked through the chronology, the factual chronology at some length. today we will go through article 1, constitutional underpinnings of abuse of power and apply the facts to the presidents scheme to the law and constitution. and here i must ask you for some forbearance.
of necessity there will be some repetition of information from yesterday's chronology and i want to explain the reason for it . you've now heard hundreds of hours of deposition and live testimony from the house condensed into an abbreviated narrative of the facts. we will now show you these facts and many others and how they are interwoven. you will see some of these facts in videos therefore in a new context, in a new light . in the light of what else we know and why it compels a finding of guilt and conviction so there is some method to our madness. tomorrow we will conclude the presentation of the facts in law in article 1. we will begin and complete the same on article 2, the president's unconstitutional obstruction of congress. the presidents council will then have three days to make their presentations and then you will have 16 hours to ask questions and then the trial
will begin. then you will actually get to hear the witnesses yourself. and then you will get to see the documents yourself. or so we hope. and so do the american people. and after their testimony and after we've hadclosing arguments , then it will be in your hands. so let's begin today's presentation and i yield to house manager nadler . >> good morning mister chief justice. senators. fellow house managers and counselfor the president . this is the third day of a solemn occasion for the american people. the articles of impeachment against president trump rank among the most serious charges ever brought against a president.
as our recital of the facts indicated, the articles are overwhelmingly supported by the evidence by the house. notwithstanding the presidents complete stonewalling , his attempts to block all witnesses and all documents from the united states congress. thefirst article of impeachment charges the president with abuse of power . president trump used the powers of his office to solicit a foreign nation to interfere in our elections for his own personal benefit. note that the act of solicitation itself, just the act, constitutes an abuse of power. the president trump went further. in order to secure his favor from the ukraine, he withheld two official acts of immense value. first, he withheld the release of $391 million in vital military assistance, appropriated by congress on a bipartisan basis that the ukraine needed to fight russian aggression.
and second, president trump with held a long-sought after white house meeting which would confirm to the world that america stands behindthe ukraine in its ongoing struggle . the president's conduct is wrong. it is illegal. it is dangerous. and it captures the worst fears of our founders and framers of the constitution. this president since george washington took office in 1789 no president has abused his power in this way. let me say that again. no president has ever used his office to compel a foreign nation to help him cheat in our elections. prior presidents would be shocked to the core by such conduct and rightly so. now, because president trump
has largely failed to convince the country that his conduct was remotely acceptable, he has adopted a fallback position. he argues that even if we disapprove of his next conduct we cannot removehim for it . frankly, that argument is itself terrifying. it confirms that this president sees no limits on his power or on his ability to use hispublic office for private gain . and of course, the president also believes that he can use his power to cover up his crimes. that leads me to the second article of impeachment which charges that the president categorically, indiscriminately and unlawfully obstructed our inquiry, a congressional inquiry into his conduct. this presidential stonewalling of congress is unprecedented in the 238 year history of our constitutional republic. it puts even president nixon to shame.
taken together, the articles and evidence conclusively establish that president trump has placed his own personal political interest first. it has placed him about our national security, above are free and fair elections and above our system of checks and balances. this conduct is not america first. it is donald trump first. donald trump swore an oath to faithfully execute the laws. that means putting the nation's interests above his own and the president has repeatedly flagrantlyviolated his oath . and i just want to stress that if what we're talking about is not impeachable, then nothing is impeachable. this is precisely misconduct the framers created a constitutionincluding impeachment to protect against .
>> all of the legal expert who testified before the house judiciary committee, those invited by the democrats and those invited by the republicans, all agreed thatthe conduct we have charged constitutes high crimes and misdemeanors . professor michael gerhart and the only joint witness when the house considered president clinton's case put it simply. if what we're talking about is not impeachable, then nothing is impeachable. professor jonathan terley agreed that the articles charged an offense that is impeachable. in his written testimony he stated the use of military aid for a quid pro quo to investigate one's political opponent if proven can be an impeachable offense. ". thus far, we have presented the core factual narrative. none of that record can be
seriously disputed as none of it will be disputed. we can predict what the presidents lawyers will say in the next few days. i urge you senators to listen to it carefully. you will hear accusations and name-calling. you will hear complaints about the process in the house and motives of the managers. you will hear this all comes down to a phone call that was perfect as if you had not just seen evidence of a month-long government wide effort to extort a foreign government but you will not hear a reputation of the evidence. you will not hear testimony to refute the testimony you have just seen.indeed if the president had any exculpatory witnesses, even a single one, he would be demanding their appearance here instead of urging you not to permit additional witnesses to testify. so now let me offer a preview of the days ahead .
first, we will examine the law of impeachable offenses with a focus on abuse of power. that will be the subject of my presentation. and my colleagues will apply the law to the facts. they will demonstrate that the president has unquestionably committed the high crimes and misdemeanors outlined in the first article of impeachment . once those presentations are concluded, we will take the same approach to demonstrating president trumps obstruction of congress. the second article of impeachment. we will begin by stating the law. then we will review the facts and then we will apply the law to the facts, proving that president trump is guilty on the second article of impeachment as well. with that roadmap to guideus, i will begin by walking through the law of abuse of power . here i will start by defining the phrase in the
constitution, high crimes and misdemeanors. when the framers selected this term payment it to capture as george mason put it, all manner of great and dangerous offenses against a nation. and in contemporary terms the framers had three specific offenses in mind. abuse of power , trail of the nation through foreign entanglements and corruption of elections. think of these as the abcs of high crimes and misdemeanors. abuse, betrayal and corruption. the framers believed anyone of these standing alone justified removal from office professor noah feldman explained as well before the house judiciary committee . here is his explanation of why the framers created the impeachment powers . >> the framers provided for the impeachment of the president because they feared that the president might abuse the power of his office for personal benefit to
corrupt the electoral process and ensure his reelection or to subvert the national security of the united states. that is the standard as described by professor feldman. it is correct and of course were all three of these concerns to appear at once, abuse, betrayal and corruption, that is where we have the strongest possible case for removing a president from office . later on we will apply this rule to the facts. abuse , we will show that president trump abused his power when he used his office to solicit and pressure ukraine to meddle in our elections for his personal gain. thetrail . we will show that he betrayed vital national interests and specifically our national security by withholding diplomatic support and military aid from the ukraine even as he faced armed russian aggression. corruption area president trumps intent was to corrupt our elections for personal and political benefit.
he put his personal interests in obtaining power above a free and fair election. and of all the principle that americans must govern themselves without interference from abroad. article 1 bus charges the high crimes and misdemeanors that lends abuseof power , betrayal of the nation and corruption in elections into a single unforgivable scheme. that is why this president must be removed from office. especially before he continues his efforts to corrupt our next election. the charges set forth in the first article of impeachment are firmly grounded in the constitution of the united states . simply stated, impeachment is the constitution's final answer to a president who mistakes himself for a king. the framers risked their freedom and lives to escape monarchy. together they resolved a
nation committed to democracy and the rule of law, a beacon to the world in an age of aristocracy. in the united states of america, we the people would besovereign . we would choose our leaders and hold them accountable for how they exercise power in our behalf . writing our constitution the framers recognized we needed a chief executive who could lead the nation with efficiency, energy and dispatch so they created a powerful presidency, invested it with immense public trust but the solution created a different problem. the framers were not nacve they knew that power corrupts. they knew that republics cannot flourish and that people cannot live free under a corrupt leader . they foresaw that a president faithful only to himself would endanger every american so the framers built guardrails to ensure the american people would remain free and to ensure that out-of-control presidents would not destroy everything that they soughtto build .
they imposed elections every four years to ensure accountability. a band the president from profiting off his office. they divided the powers of the federal government across three branches and require the president to swear an oath to faithfully execute the laws. to the framers, the concepts of faithful execution was profoundly important. prohibited the president from exercising power in bad faith or with corrupt intent and thus ensured the president would put the american people first, not himself. a few framers would have stopped there. this minority feared vesting any branch of government with the power to remove a president from office. it would rely on elections alone to address rogue presidents but that view was decisively rejected at the constitutional convention. convening in the shadow of rebellion and revolution, the
framers would not denythe nation and escape from presidents who deemed themselves above the law. instead they adopted the power of impeachment . in so doing they offered a clear answer to george mason's question shall any man be about justice? as mason himself explained, some mode of displacing an unfit magistrate is rendered indispensable by the fallibility of those who choose as well as by the corrupt ability of men chosen. unlike in britain, and the president would answer personally to congress and thus to the nation for any serious wrongdoing. but thisdecision raised the question, what conduct would justify impeachment and removal ? as careful students of history, the framers knew that democracy can take many forms. they feared would be monarchs could also ward against a fake populace, charismatic demagogues and corrupt
kleptocratic. in describing the kind of leader who mightn't menace the nation alexander hamilton offered a striking portrait. he mister schiff read this portion in his opening remarks and it bears repetition. when a man unprincipled in private life, desperate in misfortune, bold in his temper, noted to have stopped in private at the principles of liberty and such a man is seen to melt the hobbyhorse of popularity, and joining in a cry endangerdelivery to take every opportunity of embarrassing the general government and bring it bringing it under suspicion, to flatter and fall in with all the nonsense of the day , it may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may ride the storm and direct the whirlwind. hamilton was awise man . he foresaw dangers far i had of his time. even the many threats they had to anticipate, the
framers considered extremely broad grounds for removing a president. for example they debated setting the bar at mal administration to allow removal for run-of-the-mill policy disagreements between congress and the president. they also considered narrow grounds strictly limiting impeachment to treason and bribery. ultimately they struck a balance. they did not want presidents removal for ordinary political or policy disagreements but the intended impeachment to reach the full spectrum of presidential misconduct that might threaten the constitution and intended our constitution to indoor for the ages . they adopted a standard amendment as mason put it to capture all manner of great and dangerous offenses incompatible with the constitution. disbanded, the monarchs of the british parliament with
high crimes and misdemeanors. in england, the standard was understood to capture offenses against the constitutional system itself. that is confirmed by the use of the word high as well as by parliamentary practice. from 1376 to 1787, the house of commonsimpeached officials on a few general grounds. namely consisting of abuse of power, betrayal of national security and foreign policy, corruption, treason, bribery and disregarding the powers of parliament . the phrase high crimes and misdemeanors thus covered offenses against the nation itself. in other words crimes against the british constitution. as scholars have shown the same understanding prevailed on this side of the fence. in the colonial period, most impeachment targeted abuse of power , betrayal of the revolutionary cause ,
corruption, treason and bribery. these experiences were well known to the framers of the constitution. history thus teaches that high crimes and misdemeanors referred mainly to ask committed by officials using their power of privilege that inflicted grave harm on society. such great anddangerous offenses included treason, bribery , abuse of power, and corruption of office. and they were unified by a clear theme. officials who abused, abandoned or sought to benefit personally from their public trust and who threatened the rule of law once in power faced impeachment and removal. abuse, betrayal, corruption. this is exactly the understandings of the framers incorporated into the constitution. the supreme court justice roberts wisely observed, the purpose of the constitution was not only to grant power but to keep it from getting out of hand . nowhere is that true or been
in the presidency. as the framers created a formidable chief executive, they made clear that impeachment is justified for serious abuse of power. james madison stated that impeachment is necessary because the president quote, might pervert his administration into a scheme of oppression. hamilton set the standard for removal at an abuse or violation of some public trust area in massachusetts reverend samuel stillman asked if sucha prospect of impeachment, who will dare to abuse the powers vested in him by the people ? time and again americans who wrote and ratified the constitution confirmed that presidents may be impeached for abusing the power and entrusted to them. from the framing generation moreover abuse of power was a well understood offense. it took two basic forms. the first occurred if someone
exercise power in ways far beyond what the law allows. in ways that destroyed checks on their own authority area second occurred when an official exercise power to obtain an improper personal benefit while ignoring or injuring the national interest. in other words, the president may commit an impeachable abuse of power in two different ways. by engaging in clearly forbidden acts or by taking actions that are allowed for reasons that are not allowed. for instance to obtain corrupt private benefit. let me unpack that idea. starting with the first category. conduct clearly inconsistent with the law including the law of checks and balances. the generation that rebelled against george iii knew what absolute power looked like you it was no abstraction to them. they had a different idea in mind when they organized our government read most significantly they placed the president under the law, not
above it. that means the president may exercise only the powers vested in him by the constitution. you must also respect the legal limits on the exercise of those powers.a president who egregiously refuses to follow these restrictions by engaging in wrongful conduct may be subject to impeachment for abuse of power. two american impeachment inquiries have involved claims that a president grossly violated the constitution's separation of powers. the first was in 1868 when the house impeached president andrew johnson who had succeeded abraham lincoln after his assassination.
in firing the secretary of war, president johnson allegedly violated the tenure of office act which restricted the president's powers to remove cabinet members during the term of a president who had appointed them. the house of representatives approved articles charging him with conduct forbidden by law, an action that is an abuse of power on its face. the senate acquitted president johnson by one vote. this was partly because it was a strong argument that the tenure of office act which president johnson was charged with violating was itself unconstitutional. opposition the supreme court later accepted. of course, historians have noted a key senator appears to have changed his vote at the last minute in exchange for special treatment by president johnson so perhaps that acquittal means a little less than meets the eye.
in any event just over 100 years later the house judiciary committee accused a second chief executive of abusing his power in a manner inconsistent with the law. now the committee charged present next and with obstruction of congress. based on his meritless assertion of executive privilege to cover up key white house tape recordings. we will have more to say about the obstruction charge in a moment but the nixon case exemplifies the second way a president can abuse his power. president nixon facedtwo more articles of impeachment . both of these articles charged him with abusing the powers of his office with corrupt intent. one focused on his abuse of power to obstruct law enforcement. the other targeted his abuse of power to target political opponents. each article enumerated specific abuses by president nixon. many of which involved the wrongful corrupt exercise of presidential power and many of which were likely not statutory crimes. in explaining his second article the house judiciary committee stated president nixon's conduct was undertaken for his personal political advantage and not the furtherance of any national policy objectives. that should sound familiar to everyone here. it reflects the standard i've already articulated, the
exercise of official power to corrupt and obtain a personal benefit while ignoring or injuring the national interest. to be sure, all presidents account to some extent for how their decisions may affect their political prospects. the constitution does not forbid that. elected officials can and should care up voters react to their decisions and often care about whether their decisions make it more likely they will be reelected . there is a difference. a difference that matters between political calculus and outright corruption. some uses of presidential power are so outrageous, so obviously improper that if they are undertaken for a president's own personal gain with injury or indifference to core national interest than they are obviously high crimes and misdemeanors. otherwise even the most egregious wrongdoing can be
justified as disagreement over policy or politics and corruption that would have shocked the framers that they expressly sought toprohibit would overcome the protections they established for our benefit. and there should be nothing surprising about impeaching a president for using his power with corrupt motives . the house and senate have confirmed atthis point in prior impeachments . moreimportant, the constitution itself says that we can do so. to start , the constitution requires that the president faithfully execute the law. a president who acts with corrupt motives, putting himself above country has acted faithless lee, not a fully executing the laws. moreover, to impeachable offenses thatthe constitution enumerates, treason and bribery each require proof of the president's mental state . for treason he must have
acted with adisloyal mind according to the supreme court and it is well-established that the elements of bribery include corrupt notice . to the framers it was dangerous for those limits to exceed their constitutional power but it was equally dangerous, perhaps more so for officials to use their power with corrupt nefarious motives , thus perverting public trust for private gain. abuse of power is clearly an impeachable offense under the constitution. to be honest, this should not be a controversial statement. i find it amazing that the president rejects it, yet he does. he insists there is no such thing as impeachable abuse of power. his position is dead wrong. all prior impeachments considered of high office
have always included abuse of power. all the expert to testify before the house judiciary including those called by the republicans read that abuse of power is ahigh crime and misdemeanor . in his testimony from a professor from stanford law school joined by professor gerhart . >> used dollars of impeachment generally agree that abuse of power is an impeachable offense ? >> yes they do professor gerhart, do you agree agree abuse of power is impeachable? >> professor turley echoed that view. in fact, he not only agreed but he stressed that it is possible to establish a case for impeachment based ona non-criminal allegation of abuse of power . professor turley is hardly the only legal professor to take that view. another who comes to mind is
assessor alan charrettes. at least alan dershowitz in 1998. back then here is what he had to say about impeachment for abuse of power. >> it certainly doesn't have to be a crime. if you have somebody who completely corrupts the office of president and who abuses trust and who poses great danger to our liberty, you don't need a technical crime. >> we need not look to 1998 to find one of president trumps key allies espousing this view. consider the comments of our current attorney general william barr, a man known for hisexpansive view of executive power . in attorney general barr's view, expressed 18 monthsago, presidents cannot be indicted or criminally investigated . that's okay because they can
be impeached. that's the safeguard and in an impeachment attorney general barr added, the president is answerable for any abuses of discretion and may be heldaccountable under law for his misdeeds in office . in other words, attorney general barr who believes along with the office of legal counsel that a president may not be indicted , believes that's okay, we don't need that safeguard against a president who would commit abuses of power. it's okay because he can be impeached. that's the safeguard for abuses of discretion and for his misdeeds in office. more recently a group of the nations leading constitutional scholars ranging across the ideological spectrum from harvard law professor larry tried to former ronald reagan solicitor general charles
freed issued a statement affirming that quote, abuse of power counts as an instance of high crimes and misdemeanors under the constitution. they added that was clearly the view of the constitution's framers. i could go on. you get the point. everyone except president trump and his lawyers agree that presidents can be impeachedfor abuse of power . the president's position amounts to nothing but self serving constitutional nonsense and it is dangerous nonsense at that . a president who sees no limits on his power manifestly threatens the republic. the constitution always matches power with constraint. that is true even of powers vested in the chief executive area and nobody is entitled to wield power under the constitution if they ignore or betray the nation's interests to advance their own. president nixon was wrong in asserting that quote, when the president does it, that
means it's not illegal and president trump was equally wrong when he declared that he had the right to do whatever i want as president. under the constitution is subject to impeachment and removal for abuse of power. and as we will prove, that is exactly what must happen here. of course, president trumps abuse of power as charged in the first article of impeachment is supported by a mountain of evidence and aggravated by another concern at the heart of the constitution's impeachment clause . the trail. founders of our country were not fearful men. when they wrote our constitution they had only recently one of the war for independence but they look outward from their new nation they saw kings scheming for power, promising fabulous wealth to spies deserters. the united states could be enmeshed in such conspiracy.
or empowers willing to meddle in our affairs and bear no expense to influence them. the republic might not survive a president who schemed with other nations and tangling himself in secret deals that harmed our democracy. that reality loomed over the impeachment debate in philadelphia. explaining why the constitution required an impeachment option, madison argued a president might betray his trust to foreign powers. to be sure the framers did not intend impeachment for genuine good faith disagreements between the president and congress over matters of diplomacy. but they were explicit that the trail of the nation through foreign powers must result in removal from office. and no such betrayal scare them more than foreign interference in our democracy. in his farewell address, george washington warned americans to be constantly
awake because history and experience proved foreign influence is one of the most dangerous foes of republican government . and in a letter to thomas jefferson john adams wrote you are apprehensive of foreign interference, foreign intrigue, so mi. but as often as elections happen, the danger of foreign influence recurs. the framers never suggested that the president role in foreign affairs should prevent congress impeaching him for treachery in his dealings area case in point, they wrote a constitution that gives congress extensive responsibility over foreign affairs. congress including the power to declare war, regulate foreign commerce, establish uniform rule of naturalization and define offenses against the law of nations area contrary to the claims you heard the other day that the president has
plenary authority in foreign affairs and there is nothing congress can do about it , the supreme court has stated that constitutional authority over the conduct of the foreign relations of our government is shared between executive and legislative branch or to quote another supreme court case, the executive is not free from the ordinary controls of checks in congress merely because foreign affairs are at issue . in these realms just as jackson wrote the constitution and joins abundant branches separateness but interdependence area economy but reciprocity. for the president to betray foreign policy interest for his own gain he is unquestionably subject to impeachment and removal. the same is true of a different concern raised by the framers area and the use of presidential power to corrupt the elections in the office of thepresidency.
the framers were no strangers to corruption . they understood that corruption had broken rome, debased britain and threatened america. they saw no shortage of threats to the republic and fought valiantly to guard against it but as one scholar writes with big fear underlying all the small fears of whetherthey be able to control corruption . so the framers attempted to use the government to which officials would not use public power for personal benefit. disregarding the publicgood in pursuit of their own advancement . this principle applied with special force to the presidency. as madison emphasized, because the presidency was to be administered by a single man, his corruptionmight be fatal to the republic . indeed, no fewer than four delegates to the constitutional convention, madison, mason and randolph listed corruption as a central reason why presidents must be subject to
impeachment and removal from office. impeachment was seen as especially necessary for presidential conduct corrupting our system of political self-government. the framers foresaw and feared that the president might someday placed his personal interests in reelection about our abiding commitment to democracy. such a president in their view would need to be removed from office . professor feldman made this point in his testimony before the house judiciary committee area quite the framers reserved impeachment for conditions where the president of usedhis office . that is used for his personal advantage and in particular they were specifically worried about a situation where the president used his office to facilitate corruptly his own reelection area that's in fact why they thought they needed impeachment and wife winning the next election wasn't good enough.
>> professor feldman's testimony is grounded in the records of the constitutional convention . there, william devi warned that a president who abused his office might spare no effort or means whatever to get himself reelected area and thus to escapejustice . george mason built on babies position asking shall the man who has practiced corruption and by that means procured his appointment in the first instance be suffered to escapepunishment by repeating his guilt ? mason's concern was straightforward. he feared that presidents would win elections by improperly influencing members of the electoral college area governor morris later echoed this point, urging that the executive or therefore to the impeachable for corrupting his electors area taken together, these debates demonstrate and essential point you framers knew that a president who abused power could manipulate elections, presented the greatest possible threat to
the constitution. after all, the beating heart of the framers project was a commitment to popular sovereignty and at a time when democratic self-government existed almost nowhere on earth, the framers imagined a society where power flowed from and returned to the people. that is why the president and members of congress should stand before the public for reelection on fixed terms and if a president abuses his power to correct those elections he threatens the entire system . as professor carlin explained in her testimony , throwing a foreign government into our elections is anespecially serious abuse of power because it undermines democracy itself . our constitution begins with the words we the people for a reason. our government in james madison's words derived all
its power directly or indirectly from the great body of the people and the way it derives these powers is through elections. elections matter. both on the legitimacy of our government and individual freedoms because the supreme court laird declared a century ago voting is preservative of all rights. >> professor carlin is right. elections matter. they make our government legitimate and protect our freedom. a president who abuses his power in order to kneecap political opponents and spread russian conspiracy theories, a president who uses his office to ask for or even worse, compel foreign nations to meddle in our elections is a president who attacks the very foundation of our liberty . that is a grave abuse of power. it is an unprecedented betrayal of the national interest. it is a shocking corruption of the election process and
it is without doubt a crime against the constitution warranting, demanding the removal from office. the framers expected that free elections would be the usual means of protecting our freedom, but they knew that a president who sought foreign assistance in his campaign must be removed from office before he could steal the next election . in a last-ditch legal defense of their client, the president's lawyers argue that impeachment and removal are subject to statutory crimes or to offenses against established law. that a president cannot be impeached because he has not committed a crime . this view is completely wrong . it has no support in constitutional text and structure, original meaning,
congressional president, common sense or the consensus of credible experts. in other words it conflicts with every relevant consideration to profession or gerhart capture the consensus view in his testimony. >> professor gerhart, does a high crime and misdemeanor require an actual statutory crime? >> know. it plainly does not read everything we know about the history of impeachment reinforces the conclusion that impeachable offenses do not have to be crimes and again, not all crimes are impeachable offenses. we look at the conduct and gravity of misconduct. >> 'sposition was echoed by the republicans expert witness professor terley in his testimony and then he stated that quote, it is possible to establish a case of impeachment based on a non-criminal allegation of
abuse of power and stated it is clear that high crimes and misdemeanors encompassed noncriminal conduct. more recently professor turley, again the republican witness, wrote an opinion piece in the washington post entitled where the trump defense goes too far. in this piece , he stated that the president's argument is as politically unwise as it is constitutionally shortsighted. he added the successful, it would come at a considerable cost to the constitution. although i disagree with professor turley on many issues, here he is clearly right. and i might say the same thing of then house manager lindsey graham who in president clinton's trial flatly rejected thenotion that impeachable offenses are limited to violations of established law. here is what he said . >> what's a high crime? how about an important person hurt somebody of low means ? it's not very scholarly.
but i think it's the truth. i think that's what they meant by high crimes. doesn't have to be a crime. it's just when you start using your office and your acting in a way that hurts people. you've committed a high crime . >> there are many reasons why high crimes andmisdemeanors are not and cannot be limited to violations of the criminal code . we address that in the briefs we have filed and in the report respecting these articles of impeachment but i would like to highlight a few especially important considerations. i'll take through them quickly. first, there's the matter of historical record area and the framers could not have meant, could not have meant to limit impeachment to statutory crimes . the presidents are to be impeached and removed from office for treason, bribery
and other high crimes and misdemeanors but bribery was not made astatutory crime until 1837 . second, the president's position is contradicted by the constitutional text. the framers repeatedly referred to crimes, offenses and punishments. crimes, offenses and punishments elsewhere in the constitution but here they refer to high crimes. that matters. it matters because the phrase high crimes refers to offenses against the state rather than to work in a crimes. and it matters because the phrase high crimes and misdemeanors had a rich story in england where it had been applied in many cases that did not involve crimes under british law. when the framers added high crimes here but nowhere else in the constitution, they made a deliberate choice. any doubt on that score is dispelled by the framersown statements .
in federalist number 65 alexander hamilton explained that impeachable offenses are defined fundamentally by the abuse or violation of some public trust . years later james wilson, constitutional convention delegate agreed with hamilton. wilson stated impeachments and offenses and defenders impeachable combat within the sphere of ordinary jurisprudence. they are founded on different principles, governed by different mexicans and are directed to different objects. george mason expressed concern that the president might abuse the pardon power to quote, screen from punishment those whom he had secretly instigated to commit a crime and thereby prevent a discovery of his own guilt. sound familiar? jamesmadison responded to mason's concern . because mason's concern was the pardon power might be too broad. at the president might misuse
his broad pardon power to pardon his own co-conspirators and prevent the discovery of his own guilt. madison responded if the president be convicted connected in any suspicious manner with any person and there will be grounds to believe he will shelter him, the house of representatives can impeach him and remove him if found guilty. james iredell would go on to serve on the supreme court responded to the same concerns and assured delegates that if the president abused his power with him corrupt motive or other you would be liable to impeachment. and in the early 1800s this understanding was echoed by supreme court justice story who wrote his famous treatise on the constitution.there he rejected the equation of crimes and impeachable offenses which he stated must be examined upon broad and
comprehensive principles of public policy and duty. later in american history chief justice and former president taft as well as chief justice charles evans hughes publicly stated that impeachable offenses are not limited to crimes but instead capture a broaderrange of misconduct . indeed under chief justice taft, the supreme court unanimously observed that abuse of the president's pardon power could frustrate the enforcement of court orders which then resorts to impeachment and noticed pardon power is unlimited. what they're saying is abuse of the pardon power, abuse for corrupt motives is impeachable. and if all that authority is not enough to convince you, there is more. historians have shown that american colonists before the revolution and american states after the resolution but before 1787 all impeached officials for noncriminal conduct . over the past two centuries moreover the strong majority
of the impeachments voted by the house have included one or more allegations that did not charge a violation of criminal law. indeed the senate has convicted and removed multiple judges on noncriminal grounds. judge archibald was removed in 1912 for noncriminal collation in coal properties. judge ritter was removed in 1936 for the noncriminal offense of bringing his court into scandal and disrepute. during judge rudder's case, one of my predecessors as at the house judiciary stated expressly we do not assume the responsibility of proving that the respondent is guilty of a crime as that term is known to criminal jurisprudence. what is true for judges is also true for president area at least on this point. the house judiciary committee approved three articles of impeachment against president
nixon. each of them in public many acts that did not violate the federal law. one of the articles, obstruction of congress involved no allegations of any legal violation and is worth reflecting on why president nixon was forced to resign area most americans are familiar with the story. the house judiciary committee approved articles of impeachment in 1974. those articles past with bipartisan support although mostrepublicans goodbye president nixon . and the smoking tapecame out . within a week almost everyone who supported the president a week before changed his position and the president was forced to resign because of what was revealed on the smoking gun tape. within a week senator goldwater and others went to the president and said you won't have a single vote in the senate. you must resign or you will be removed from office. because of the evidence onthe smoking gun tape but what was on the smoking gun tape ? the tape were recordings of
president nixon instructing white house officials to pressure the cia and fbi to end the watergate investigation area no law explicitly prohibited that conversation. it was not in that sense a crime but president nixon had abused his power. he had tried to use to government agencies, the fbi and cia or his personal benefit. his impeachment and removal were certain and he announced his resignation within days. decades later in president clinton's case, he did share sherry committee reported on the articles of impeachment stated the actions of president clinton do not have to rise to the level of violating the federal statute regarding obstruction of justice in order to justify impeachment . it is thus overwhelming authority against restricting impeachments to violations of established statutory law. every relevant principle of constitutional law compels that result.
so does common sense. impeachment is not a punishment for crimes . impeachment exists to address threats to the political system, applies only to political officials and respond not by imprisonment but only by stripping political power. it would make no sense to say that a president engages in horrific abuses must be allowed to remain in office unless congress had anticipated his or her specific conduct in advance and written a statute expressly outlining it . for one thing that would be practically impossible. as justice gloria observed, the threats posed by presidential abuse are so various and complex character that it would bealmost absurd to attempt a comprehensive list . the constitution is not a suicide pact. it does not leave us stuck with presidents who abuse their power in unforeseen ways that threaten our
security and democracy. until recently, it did not occur to me that our president would call a foreign leader and demand a sham investigation meant to kneecap his political opponents all in exchange for releasing vital military aid the president was required by law to provide facts .. when they charge congress when determining the president's conduct was so clearly wrong, it's definitely beyond the pale threatening to the constitution of order as to require his removal. and that is why we are here today. you must judge for yourselves whether justice will be had for president trumps crime against our freedom and the constitution.
i will conclude by highlighting a few points with special emphasis, as you apply the law of impeachment to president trumps misconduct. first, impeachment is not for petty offenses. the president's conduct must constitute as masons put it, a great and dangerous offense against the nation, offenses that threaten the constitution. second, impeachable offenses involve wrongdoing that reveal the president as a continuing threat if he is allowed to remain in office. in other words, we fully recognize that impeachment does not exist for a mistake and does not apply to acts that are merely unwise or unpopular. impeachment is reserved for deliberate decisions by the president to embark on a course of conduct the betrays his oath of office and does violence to the constitution. when the president has engaged in such conduct and when there is strong evidence he will do so again, when he has told us he
will do so again and told us it's okay to invite interference from a foreign power into our next election, the case for removal is at its peak. this is certainly the case when he invites an attempt to compel foreign government to help them subvert the integrity of our next election. there can be no greater threat to the republic. finally, high crimes and misdemeanors of all conduct that is organize as wrong to a reasonable, honorable citizen. the framers adopted a standard for impeachment that could stand the test of time. at the same time, to structure the constitution applies impeachable offenses should not come as a surprise. impeachment is aimed at presidents who act as if they are above the law. presidents who believe their own interests are more important than those of the nation. thus, presidents who ignore right and wrong in pursuit of their own gain.
abuse, betrayal, corruption. here are each of the core offenses the framers feared most. the president's abuse of power, his betrayal of the national interest and is corruption of our elections plainly qualify as great and dangerous offenses. president trump has made clear, in word and deed, he will persist in such conduct if he is not removed from power. he poses a continuing threat to our nation to the integrity of our elections into our democratic order. he must not remain in power one moment longer. >> mr. chief justice, senators,
presidents council, we will now walk through the president's abuse of power. the corrupt object of his scheme, his three official acts carrying out his scheme, his attempted cover-up and exposure is a harm to our nation. his continuing threat is caused by his misconduct. let's start first with the object of the presidents -- and senators, we have today provided and out you can follow along in our slides. as this first slide indicates in this portion of our presentation we will discuss the evidence that shows overwhelmingly that president trump directed this scheme with corrupt intent. with one corrupt objective to obtain foreign assistance in his reelection bid in the 2020
united states presidential election. we will walk through first how the president wanted ukraine to help in his reelection campaign and wanted ukraine to publicly announce two investigations. one, into his political rival, joe biden and the second into the defunct conspiracy theory related to ukraine interference in the 2016 election. president trump himself later confirmed this intent in public statements. we will then explain how we know these investigations were solely for president trump's personal political gain. first, president trump made clear that he cared only about
the announcement, the announcement of the investigation, not the actual investigation. second, president trump similarly made clear he cared only about the big stuff what the big stuff meaning his political investigation. third, he used his personal attorney, mr. giuliani, to repeatedly say he pursued the investigations in the capacity as the president personal lawyer and that this wasn't about foreign policy. fourth, there is no real dispute that these investigations were never part of an official u.s. policy and they, in fact, went outside official channels and the department of justice even publicly confirmed that they
were never asked to talk to ukraine about these investigations, never. six, multiple officials who knew what was going on repeatedly reported these concerns to supervisors and even the legal advisors. seven, ukraine expressed concerns multiple times that these were political investigations and ukraine did not want to get involved in the mastic u.s. politics. eight, the white house tried to bury the call. nine, president trump himself told us he really wanted and cared in his own words, and many public statements, and finally despite the president's counsel
to justify his actions the evidence makes clear the president trump did not care about anticorruption efforts in ukraine and this is only about one thing, his political investigations. we are following along in the slides. now, as i mentioned the object of the presidents scheme is clear. two investigations to help his political reelection. the constitution grants the president's broad authority to conduct u.s. foreign policy. he is our commander-in-chief and chief diplomat. when the president of the united states calls a foreign leader a presidents first and only objective should be to get foreign leaders to do what it, what is best, for the u.s. national interest. this is consistent with the faithful execution of his oath
of office and consistent with official u.s. policy. but on july 25 when president trump called the president of ukraine, president trump did the opposite. instead of following official u.s. talking points and instead of listening to staff about what was important for national interest president trump asked ukraine for something that would benefit only himself. his political investigations. and not only did these investigations diverge from u.s. national interest as you will hear president trump's actions harmed our national security. in putting himself above our country he put our country at risk. that is why his actions are so
dangerous. now, let's take a moment and look carefully at the two investigations that president trump sought with ukraine. they are the heart of the presidents scheme. he stood to benefit politically from ukraine's announcement of each. as you can see on the slide the first investigation was, of course, of former vice president biden and let's go straight to that july 25 telephone call again. president trump stated clearly each of these investigations he wanted so let's start with vice president joe biden and the removal of corrupt prosecutor in ukraine. the first investigation related to vice president joe biden and the ukrainian gas company b holdings and his son, hunter
biden, used to sit. president trump summarized the theory behind his request in broad strokes in his july 25 call with president zelensky, here is what he said. the other thing there is a lot of talk about biden's son that biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so that whatever you can do for the attorney general would be great. biden went around bragging that he stopped a prosecution so if you can look into that, it sounds horrible to me. let's look carefully at the investigation president trump was asking for and what it was based on. in short, president trump asked for the investigation into biden based on a made up theory that no one agreed with. no one.
we will go into it in more detail but at a high level the allegation is that late in 2015 biden pressured ukraine to remove the then prosecutor general by threatening to withhold approximately 1 billion in loan guarantees if he was not removed. according to this theory vice president biden did this in order to help his son in a company called burisma holdings. vice president biden's son sat on the board. as the theory goes vice president biden tried to remove ukraine's prosecutor all to make sure the prosecutor would not investigate that specific company. again, his son was on the board.
then senators if that does not sound far-fetched and complicated to you, it should. let's take this step-by-step start from the beginning. in 2014 vice president biden's son, hunter, joined the board of the ukrainian national gas port for burisma holdings at the time burisma's owner, a ukrainian oligarch and former government minister was under investigation. in 2015 victor became ukraine's prosecutor general, a job similar to attorney general in the united states. although he vowed to keep it investigating burisma amid an international push to root out corruption in ukraine he allowed to be holdings to go dormant.
he allowed it to go dormant. that is one he was removed. he was now actively investigating burisma but had let it go dormant. moreover the prosecutor general was widely perceived as ineffective and corrupt. george kent, second most senior official at the u.s. embassy and keep at the time described him as quote, atypical ukraine prosecutor who lived a lifestyle far in excess of his government salary who never prosecuted anybody known for having committed a crime. and he covered up crimes that were known to have been committed. in late 2015 vice president
biden, who had assumed a significant role in u.s. policy toward ukraine publicly called for the removal of the prosecutor general because of his failure his failure to adequately combat corruption. but vice president biden was not alone in the european union and the european ally in the international monetary fund reformers inside ukraine also wanted him removed the ukrainian prosecutor office to reform it and reforming the prostate or general office was also supported on a bipartisan basis by the ukrainian caucus here in the senate on fabry 12, 2016 after vice president biden had urged for the removal of him but before the ukrainian parliament
voted to remove him a bipartisan group of senators, including senators portman, durbin, shaheen, ron johnson, murphy, blumenthal and brown sent a letter to president to make urgent reforms to the prosecutor general's office and the month after the senator sent that letter he was fired. let's be very clear that vice president biden called for the removal of this prosecutor as the official direction of u.s. policy because the prosecutor was widely perceived as corrupt. with the support of all our international allies is actions were therefore supported by the executive branch, congress and
the international community. common sense would tell us that this allegation against joe biden is false. and that there was no legitimate basis for any investigation but there are several other reasons you know the only reason president trump wanted ukraine to announce the investigation into biden that was solely for this very own personal benefit. if you look at this slide it will summarize some points that first non- 17 witnesses in the house inquiry said there was any factual basis for this allegation, not one of the 17. to the contrary they testified it was false and seconds, as i
mentioned, the former prosecutor general biden was widely confirmed to be corrupt and failed to investigate corruption in ukraine and thus removing him from office would only increase the chances that burisma would be possibly investigated for corruption. third, because the prosecutor was so corrupt vice president biden calling for his removal was also a direction of official u.s. policy and undertaken with a unanimous support of our allies. fourth, the successor to the ukrainian prosecutor general admitted that vice president biden son didn't do anything wrong in connection with burisma. the entire premise of the
investigation that the president wanted ukraine to pursue was simply false. finally, president trump did not care about any of this until 2019. when vice president biden became the front-runner for the democratic presidential nomination and polls show he had the largest head to head lead against president trump that became a problem. let's start with the first and second points. vice president biden's conduct was uniformly validated by the witnesses in the house investigation who confirmed his conduct was consistent with u.s. policy. every single witness who was asked about the allegations again and said that biden had nothing to do with it and it was false. they testified that he acted properly and every witness with
knowledge of this issue testified that vice president biden was carrying out official u.s. policy and calling for lutsenko's removal. he was corrupt in this witness explained that the u.s. was not alone in this view. all of our european allies also supported this action and there is simply no evidence, nothing, in their record to support this baseless allegation. i would like to go through some of that testimony now. first, doctor hill and mr. holmes let's watch. >> now, doctor hill, are you aware of any evidence to support the allegations against vice president biden? >> i am not, no. >> in fact, mr. holmes the former prosecutor general of ukraine who vice president biden
encouraged to fire was actually corrupt, is that right? >> correct. >> and was not pursuing corruption investigations and prosecutions? >> my understanding is that the prosecutor general at the time, lutsenko, was not at that time pursuing investigations of burisma or the biden's. >> and fat, removing that corrupt prosecutor general was part of the united states anticorruption policy, is that not correct? >> correct, not just us but our allies and other institutions involved at the time. >> ambassador yovanovitch concerned confirmed this point. let's watch her testify. >> in fact, when vice present biden acted to remove the former corrupt prosecutor in ukraine did he do so as part of official united states policy? >> official u.s. policy, it was endorsed and with the policy of
a number of other international stakeholders and other countries and other monetary institutions, financial institutions. >> and similarly when asked if there was any factual basis to support the allegations about biden, george kent replied, none, whatsoever. lieutenant colonel alexander and ms. williams also confirmed that they are not aware of any comfortable evidence to support the notion that vice president biden did anything wrong. ambassador poker testified that the allegations were not credible and that biden respects his duty of higher office. now as i mentioned there was also concrete reason that the u.s. government wanted lutsenko removed. as david holmes, senior official
at the u.s. embassy in ukraine testified, by the time lutsenko was finally removed in 2016 there was strong concerns that lutsenko himself corrupt and not investigating potential corruption in the country. in fact, part of the concern was that lutsenko was not investigating burisma. under lutsenko the investigation into the owner of burisma for earlier conduct had stalled and was dormant. that was part of the reason why the united states and other countries wanted to remove lutsenko. because of this, and confirmed by witness testimony we will hear shortly, calling for lutsenko's replacement would actually increase the chances that burisma would be investigated. in other words, lutsenko was corrupt and not investigating allegations against burisma so
what vice president biden was calling for lutsenko's removal and advocating for his her placement it was actually increase chances of burisma investigation. ambassador yvonne mitch made this point during her testimony, let's listen. >> and facts, if he helped to remove a corrupt ukrainian prosecutor general who was not prosecuting enough corruption that would increase the chances that corrupt companies in ukraine would be investigated, isn't that right? and that could include burisma, right? >> yes. >> president trump and his allies have tried to justify president trump's withholding a military aide and a white house meeting unless ukraine announced the investigations he wanted. by saying it's the same thing
vice president did when he called for ukraine to remove its corrupt prosecutor, it is not the same thing. as you just heard, vice president biden followed official u.s. policy and he went through official channels to remove the prosecutor that was corrupt and he did it with the support of our allies, that is the exact opposite of what president trump did. he pushed ukraine for an investigation that has no basis and that no one agreed with and that was not at all u.s. policy and that only benefited him. george kent addressed this very point during his testimony and let's listen. >> and mr. kent, and mr. taylor, the defenders of the president's
behavior had made a big deal out of the fact that vice president biden encouraged the ukrainians to remove a corrupt former ukrainian prosecutor, 2016, mr. lutsenko and in fact senator rand paul on sunday said and i quote him, they are impeaching the president for exactly the same thing that joe biden did. is that correct? is what the president what the president did in his phone call and what joe biden did in terms of mr. lutsenko are those the same thing? if not, how are they different? >> i do not think they are the same things braidwood former vice president biden requested of former president of ukraine lutsenko was the removal of a corrupt prosecutor general, who had undermined a program of assistance that we had spent again u.s. taxpayer money to try to build an independent investigator unit to go after corrupt prosecutors and there
was a case called the diamond prosecutor case in which lutsenko destroyed the entire echo system that we are trying to help create, the investigators, judges who issued the warrants, the law enforcement that had warrants to do the wiretapping, everybody to protect his former driver who he had made a prosecutor. that is what joe biden was asking remove the corrupt prosecutor. >> so joe biden was participating in an open effort to establish and address corruption in ukraine. >> that is correct. >> rate. as you look at this whole mess, rudy giuliani, president trump, in your opinion, was this a copy is of an whole of government effort to end corruption in ukraine? >> referring to the request in july. >> exactly. >> i would not say so, no, sir. >> in short, the allegations against vice president biden are groundless and so there is no comparison, none at all between
what he did and the presidents trumps abuse of power. now, let's turn to the third point. part of the allegation against former vice president biden is that he pushed for the corrupt ukrainian prosecutor's removal in order to protect his son from the investigation. in fact, the president's about being concerned about corrupti corruption, ukraine had recently emphasized this component of the theory that the president wanted ukraine to investigate hunter biden's work on the board of burisma, not the former vice president. this too, is false. simply false. you need look no further than the july 25 call and the president's own statements to see that the president wanted the ukrainians to investigate vice president biden. let's look again at what the
presidents call said. quote, the other thing, there is a lot of talk about biden's son that biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that. whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great. biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so he could look into it. it sounds horrible to me. the president was clearly asking president zelensky to investigate joe biden and what did the president say on the white house lawn on october 3? he was asked about the ukrainian scheme he said quote, well, i think they were honest about it and you saw the film yesterday, they would start a major investigation into the biden's. it's a very simple answer, he
said the biden's. plural. not one biden, but the biden's. it is clear the president wanted what he wanted from ukraine and investigation to smear his political rival area even if the president wanted an investigation of hunter biden there is no basis for that either. now, how do you know? well, ukraine's former prosecutor general admitted that the allegation against vice president biden's son was plainly false. you can see it on the own words, plainly false. then ukrainian prosecutor general urate lutsenko recanted his earlier allegations and confirmed quote, biden was definitely not involved. in any wrongdoing involving
burisma. so, even though ukrainians believed that biden's son did nothing wrong. the long and short of it is that there was no basis for the investigation that the president was pursuing and pushing, none. he was doing it only for his own political benefit. but let's look at one more important reason why it is clear that president trump simply wanted a political benefit from ukraine's announcement of this investigation and did not care about the underlying conduct. the allegations against vice president biden were based on
the evidence that occurred in late 2015 and early 2016. they are all well publicized at the but as soon as president trump took office he increased military support to ukraine in 2017 and the next year 2018 but it wasn't until 2019 over three years after vice president biden called for his removal, three years after that president trump started pushing ukraine to investigate that conduct what changed? what changed? why did president trump not care at all about biden requests for the removal of him after it happened in 2017? or the next year in 2018.
senators you know what changed in 2019 when president trump suddenly cared it is that biden got in the race. april 25 vice president biden announced he would run for president in 2020. president trump was so concerned about this alleged corruption why did he push ukraine to investigate when he entered office in 2017? or in 2018 after biden gave public remarks about how we pressured ukraine to remove show can fit why did president trump wait until former vice president biden was campaigning for the democratic nomination? senators, it is obvious. president trump wanted to hurt
vice president biden's candidacy and help himself politically he pushed for an investigation in 2019 because that is when it would be valuable to him president trump and he pushed for it when it started to become clear that vice president biden could beat him and he had good reason to be concerned and let's look at the slide about some polls. throughout this scheme polling had consistently shown the former vice president handily beating president trump by significant margins and had to head match ups. the charts on the screen shows fox news poll emphasizing this point. but the chart shows from march through december vice president biden had consistently led president trump by significant
margins and beginning around march vice president biden is getting the president in polls even on fox news. in april biden officially announces his candidacy and that is when the president gets worried. in may the presidents personal lawyer tells the press that he's planning to travel to ukraine to urge newly elected president zelensky to induct into president biden and you know what else happened in may of fox news poll shows biden beating trump by 11 points in this list did not go unnoticed. the president mr. giuliani said
in an interview and this is a quote, i guarantee you joe biden will not get to election day without this being investigated. and by july right before president trump's call with president zelensky where he asks for the investigation into the biden the fox news poll showed biden beating trump by ten points. and then on july 25 after years of not caring that vice president did president trump asked for an investigation in his formidable political rival into 2020 election. and senators looking at this timeline of events it is not difficult to see why the investigation into the biden's would be helpful to president trump and the mere announcement
of such investigation will immediately tarnish the former vice president's reputation by embroiling him and his son in a criminal investigation. even if the charges were never pursued just the mere announcement and if a foreign country announced a formal investigation into those allegations it would give allegations against the biden's an air of credibility and could carry through the election. the evidence is clear, everyone knew, even ukraine there was no merit to the allegation that biden called for the removal of shokin for any legitimate reas reason. biden asked for it because it was consistent, consistent with u.s. policy because shokin was corrupt and with the backing of
our allies that even president trump knew there was no basis for this investigation and that is why for years after shokin's removal he continued to support ukraine, never once raised the issue. it wasn't until biden began beating him in the polls that he called for the investigation. the president asked ukraine for this investigation for one reason and one reason only he knew he would it would be damaging to an opponent who was consistently beating him in the polls and therefore it could help him get reelected in 2020. president trump had the motive and he had the opportunity and the means to commit this abuse of power.
now, let's turn to the second investigation that president trump wanted. what he wanted is a widely debunked conspiracy theory that ukraine, rather than russia, interfered in the 2016 u.s. election to benefit president trump's opponents. as we will explain the allegation that ukraine interfered in the 2016 elections just like the allegation that biden had probably removed the ukraine prosecutor has absolutely no basis in fact. in fact, this theory ignored the unanimous conclusions of the u.s. intelligence agency and the congressional intelligence committee and special counselor
robert mueller which found that russia, russia attacked our elections. it also went against the senate intelligence committee report which found no evidence supporting ukraine attacked our elections. nor did any witness support the theory that ukraine attacked our elections. indeed, even president trump's own advisors told him that the claim was false. in fact, the one person who told president trump his theory was true, who was it? you know it was our adversary, russia. who had everything to gain by deflecting the blame from their attack on ukraine.
let's look at what president trump was actually suggesting ukraine investigate. the theory is this. instead of listening to our entire intelligence committee that concluded that russia interfered in our 2016 election to assist donald trump the new theory says it was ukraine that interfered in the election to help hillary clinton and heard donald trump. one aspect of this conspiracy theory was that the american's cybersecurity firm crowd strike, which helped the dnc respond to russia's cyber attack in 2016 moved a d&c server to ukraine to prevent the fbi from examining it. here is what president trump said about this conspiracy theory during the july 25 call. quote, i would like you to find
out what happened with this whole situation with ukraine. they say crowd strike, i guess you could have one of your wealthy people, the server, they say ukraine has it. once again, if this sounds far-fetched and crazy, it should because it is. there is simply no factual basis to support this conspiracy theory and let's walk through the concrete reasons why. first, as i mentioned, our entire u.s. intelligence community the senate select committees on intelligence and special counsel mueller all unanimously found that russia, not ukraine interfered in the 2016 elections. russia did it to help donald
trump. this was to hurt hillary clinton. here's an example of that. this is the conclusion of the director of national intelligence report entitled assessing russian activities and intentions and recent u.s. elections. i will quote a part in it and you can follow along on the slide. we assess russian president vladimir putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the u.s. presidential election. russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the u.s. democratic process, denigrate secretary clinton, and harm her electability of potential presidency. we further assess putin and the russian government developed a clear preference for president-elect trump. we have high confidence in these
judgments. clear, present president-elect trump. here is a conclusion of the senate select committee on intelligence. quote, the committee found that the russian -based internet agency sought to influence the 2016 u.s. presidential election by harming hillary clinton chances of success in supporting donald trump at the direction of the kremlin. the committee found that the russian government tasked and supported the iras interference in the 2016 u.s. elections. supporting donald trump at the direction of the kremlin. that is what it said. here is the special counsel's conclusion.
mother reports what he 19, quote, as set forth in detail in this report the special counsel's investigation established that russia interfering in the 2016 presidential election principally through two operations. first, a russian entity carried out a social media campaign that favored presidential candidate donald j trump and disparaged presidential candidate hillary clinton. second, a russian intelligence service connected computer intrusion operations against entities, employees, and volunteers working on the clinton campaign and then released stolen documents. on december 9, 2019 even president trump's own fbi
director christopher wray stated unequivocally that there is no evidence to support the theory that ukraine interfered in our election in 2016. here is a video of that interview. let's watch. >> to the government of ukraine directly into peer in the 2016 election on the scale but the russians did? >> we have no information that indicates ukraine interfered with the 2016 presidential election. >> when you see politicians pushing this notion, are you concerned about that in terms of its impact on the american public? >> wall, look, they're all because the saying all kinds of things out there. i think it's important for the married people to be thoughtful consumers of information and to think about the source of it and to think about the support and predication for what they hear. i think part of us being well
protected against malign foreign influence is to build together in american public that is resilient that has appropriate media literacy and that takes its information with a grain of salt. >> putin isn't pushing this theory and your message to him in terms of the wreck in public. >> stop trying to interfere with our elections. >> we recently heard from the president himself he wanted the crowd strike portion of this whole conspiracy in ukraine investigated and i'm hearing you say there is no evidence to support that as far as you know. >> as i said, we have -- we at the fbi have no information that would indicate that ukraine tried to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. >> you heard him he said no information that would indicate that ukraine tried to interfere in the 2016 presidential
election. so to be really, really clear there is no real dispute that russia, not ukraine, attacked our elections. but it is not just that there is no evidence to support this conspiracy theory but it is more dangerous than that. where did this theory come from? you guessed it. the russians. russia, russian president vladimir putin and russian intelligence services perpetuated this false debunked conspiracy theory. now remember, there is no dispute among the intelligence committee that the russians attacked our 2016 election. the senate on intelligence committee published a report telling its staff as well.
it is no surprise that russia wants to blame somebody else and in fact, president trump even said that that president putin is the one who told him it was ukraine who interviewed in our elections. in short, this theory that the russians were promoting to interfere yet again in our democratic process and deflect blame from there own attacks against us that what is so dangerous is that president trump is helping them perpetuate this that our own president is helping our adversary attack our processes and to help his own reelection. doctor hill, an expert on these matters explained it in more detail as to why this is very concerning, let's watch.
>> this is the second thing i want to communicate. there are some questions and same as i have heard and some of you on this committee appear to believe that russia and its security services do not conduct campaign against our country and the perhaps somehow for some reason ukraine did. this is a fictional narrative that is being perpetrated and propagated by the russian security services themselves. the unfortunate truth is that russia wants a foreign power to systematically attack our democratic institutions in 2016 and this is the public inclusion of our intelligence agencies confirmed and bipartisan congressional reforms. it is beyond dispute, even if some of the underlying details that are classified. >> the impacts of a successful 26 team russian campaign remains evident today in our nation is being pulled apart to do questions and are highly professional expert career foreign service is being undermined. u.s. continues to [inaudible]
the russian government goal is to begin our country to diminish american global role and to neutralize the u.s. threat to russian interests. >> their goal is to begin our country and to diminish america's mobile role and to neutralize a perceived u.s. threat to russian interests. that is why it is so dangerous because despite the lack of any evidence to support this debunked conspiracy theory the unanimous conclusion of the intelligence committee, congress, special counsel mueller and the f vi to the likes of the contrary, president trump continued to promote this conspiracy theory just because it would be beneficial and helpful to his own reelection
campaign. even president trump's own senior advisors told him that this allegation was false. tom bossert, president trump's former homeland security advisor, stated publicly that the crowd strike theory had been debunked. here is that interview and let's watch. >> is not only a conspiracy theory but completely debunked. i don't want to be glib about this matter but last year the retired former senator wrote a piece in the hilt magazine saying the three ways or the five ways to impeach oneself in the third way with the higher was to hire rudy giuliani. at this point i am deeply frustrated with what he and the legal team is doing and repeating that debunked theory to the presidents. it sticks in his mind when he hears it over and over again and for clarity here, george, let me repeat that it's no lenity the
united states government reached its conclusion on attributing to russia the dnc hack in 2016 before it even communicated to the fbi long before the fbi knocked on the door at the dnc. a server inside the d&c was not relevant to our determination to the attribution it was made up front in beforehand and so while servers can be important in the investigations that followed it has nothing to do with the u.s. government attribution of russia for the dnc hack. >> the theory has no validity and that is what he said and doctor hill testified that white house officials including mr. bossert and former nationals agree advisor h.r. mcmaster spends a lot of time refuting the crowd strike conspiracy theory to president trump and let's hear it. >> now, doctor hill, is this a reference to the debunked
conspiracy theory about ukraine interference in the 2016 election that you discussed in your opening statement as well as with chairmanship. >> the reference to the server, that is correct. >> and did your understanding that there is no basis for these allegations, is that correct? >> that is correct. >> isn't it true that some of the president trump's most senior advisors had informed him that this theory of ukraine interference in the 2016 election was false. >> that is correct. >> when she was asked is it false she said that is correct and if vladimir putin's goals as doctor hill testified were to deflect from russia's systematic
interference in our election and to drive a wedge between the united states and ukraine he has succeeded beyond his wildest dreams and the alternative narrative of the ukrainian interference of the 2016 election has now been picked up by the presidents defenders and the consumer media. it has modeled the waters regarding russia on interference in our election and every effort remains ongoing as we have learned last week this week from reporting that russia hacked burisma. if there were any doubt about how president putin feels about the president's conduct you need only look to putin's own work. the statements on november 20 tells it all. quote, thank god nobody is accusing us anymore of interfering in u.s. elections
now they are accusing ukraine. that is a short quotation from putin but speaks volumes. even though president trump knew there was no factual basis for the theory that it was ukraine that interfered in the 2016 election rather than russia and knew that russia was perpetuating this theory he still wanted president zelensky to pursue the investigation why because while putin and russia clearly stood to gain by promoting this conspiracy theory about ukraine so did donald trump. he knew it would be political helpful to his 20102020 election and an announcement of an investigation by ukraine would
have breathed new life into a debunked conspiracy theory that ukrainian election interference was there in 2016 and blended great credibility and it would have cast out on the conclusions of the intelligence committee and special counsel mueller that russia interfered in the 2016 election to help president trump. it would have helped eliminate a perceived threat to the legitimacy of donald trump's presidency that he was only elected because of the help he received from president putin. i now yield to mr. schiff. >> the majority leader is recognized. >> maybe take a 15 minute break at this point. >> without objection, so ordered.
>> the u.s. senate wrapping up the first part of the day, this is the house managers making their case on impeachment of president donald trump. when they started the day there were 16 hours and 45 minutes left in their time, each side getting 24 hours over two days, over three days rather, to present their cases. this is the second day for house managers that we expect a full day tomorrow as well they are taking a break here, 15 minutes according to the majority leader, and we will as well and wait for them to return. in the meanwhile we will open up our phone lines and hear from you. your thoughts on the impeachment efforts so far for (202)748-892, rebellions (202)748-8921 and for all others (202)748-8922, send us a text, 202748 ###-0003 tell
us where you are texting from and we will get to your call, comments momentarily but first off the senate floor in the reception room of the senate rick scott of florida. >> we still don't know why it was the senate picked up to be on this board? house democrats have to ask lena. >> [inaudible] >> i'm listening to what they are saying and they want somehow to argue that the fact that that the best is to say that biden who said publicly he got a prosecutor fired that he and no authority over that was good somehow but president trump did poorly to change ambassadors and that is bad but that's what they are trying to say which makes no sense. >> we are hewn rumbling for how to ice tea might be ready on saturday to start fighting back. >> i think that is when they are
supposed to start. they got the house democrats have today and tomorrow and then the white house team starts on a saturday. >> republican senator rick scott we will hear from josh hawley from missouri. we go there life. ... >> because he wasn't investigating bris ma enough, that -- burisma, that the obama administration needed to more invigorate -- you can't have it both ways. either burisma was a source of corruption and needed to be investigated or it wasn't the hoe