Democrats express confidence in case as impeachment speeds forward

Congressional Democrats on Sunday said they are drafting articles of impeachment against President Trump and expressed increasing confidence in their case ahead of a possible vote this week while Republicans reiterated their critiques of the process and insisted the president had done nothing wrong.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that House Democrats “have a very rock-solid case” against the president.  

“I think the case we have, if presented to a jury, would be a guilty verdict in about three minutes flat,” he said.

“And it ill behooves a president or his partisans to say you don’t have enough direct evidence when the reason we don’t have even more direct evidence is the president has ordered everybody in the executive branch not to cooperate with Congress in the impeachment inquiry, something that is unprecedented in American history and is a contempt of Congress by itself,” Nadler added.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), who also participated in the impeachment inquiries into Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, said on ABC’s “This Week” that the articles should focus on Ukraine rather than including conduct outlined in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

“The Mueller report is a report,” Lofgren said. “We don’t have a direct witness testimony for most of that, so I think we’d be on firmest ground to move forward where we have direct evidence as with the report we will receive tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. from the Intelligence Committee.”

Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), who, like Lofgren, is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said the House has so far seen “a classic example of an impeachable offense.”

“[T]he focus is on the president’s misconduct, asking a foreign government to interfere in our elections …I think all of the potential articles of impeachment are on the table [but] that will be a decision the Judiciary Committee makes, but the Judiciary Committee will have all the evidence,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.”

House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), meanwhile, defended his committee obtaining phone records as part of his investigation, saying the decision had only gotten “blowback” from “the far-right.”

“The fact that Mr. [Devin] Nunes or [Rudy] Giuliani or others show up in this scheme doesn’t make them irrelevant, doesn’t give them a pass,” he said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

On the Republican side of the aisle, lawmakers continued their attack on the impeachment process and insisted Trump was acting on valid U.S. concerns in his dealings with Ukraine.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) blasted the inquiry as a “kangaroo court” on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” and said House Democrats were motivated by the fact that “they hate the president.”

“It’s going to go to the Senate, it’s going to go nowhere. And I think the American people know this is a waste of time and this is Democrats putting on a circus,” Cruz said.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), one of Trump’s most vocal allies in the House, defended his communications with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as motivated by a sincere desire to combat corruption in the country.

“I think the president was acting on a sincere, longly held view and skepticism of foreign aid,” Gaetz said on ABC’s “This Week.” “I think he was acting on concern about Ukraine being the third-most corrupt country in the world.”

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chair of the House dom Caucus, also defended Trump and said he was skeptical any Republicans would vote to impeach.

Meadows also pushed back on Republican Reps. Mac Thornberry (Texas) and Michael Turner’s (Ohio) characterization of Trump’s call with Zelensky as “inappropriate” and “alarming,” saying his colleagues “are wrong.”

“I was in the [closed-door] depositions,” Meadows said on “State of the Union” Sunday. “There’s a big difference between what is being alleged … and what actually happened.”

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