Rep. Ben Cline (R-Va.) referenced the “Star Wars” saga while defending President Trump amid the House’s impeachment inquiry into his dealings in Ukraine, comparing the ongoing effort by Democrats to “the empire” striking back.
During an appearance on Fox News’s “America’s Newsroom” on Monday morning, Cline was pressed by co-anchor Sandra Smith on what he expects to see later this week when the House Judiciary Committee holds its first hearing in the impeachment investigation.
“Well, you know with the Mueller report, look at it this way, we had ‘Star Wars,’ the empire got destroyed, just like the Mueller report got destroyed,” Cline responded, referring to former special counsel Robert Mueller‘s Russia investigation.
“The sequel is here, it’s ‘The Empire Strikes Back,’ or as we like to say, the Intelligence Committee strikes back. [Intelligence Committee Chairman] Adam Schiff [D-Calif.] strikes back,” he said. “But we all know how this story ends. The rebels win. Ultimately, the president will be exonerated and we don’t anticipate there being any reason to go forward with these hearings.”
As part of the impeachment inquiry, lawmakers have been investigating whether the president withheld military aid to Ukraine in exchange for politically favorable investigations. The House Judiciary Committee will hold its first hearing on Wednesday as the panel determines whether to bring articles of impeachment against Trump.
The House Intelligence Committee heard from current and former Trump administration officials over two weeks prior to the Thanksgiving holiday recess. On Tuesday, members of the panel are expected to vote on whether to adopt the findings of its investigation. Members of the Judiciary Committee, including Cline, are expected to receive the report shortly afterward.
During his appearance on Fox News on Monday, Cline expressed frustration over the amount of time lawmakers will have to review the report prior to Wednesday’s hearing.
“But to be clear you haven’t seen it yet, the Schiff report?” Smith asked Cline.
“No, nobody has. It hasn’t hit our desks yet and we’re being asked to come in for a Wednesday hearing and look at a report on Tuesday,” Cline responded.
“So, it’s ridiculous to the extreme. It’s [House Judiciary Committee Chairman] Jerry Nadler [D-N.Y.] at his finest again,” he said, adding, “We’ll deal with it just as we dealt with the Mueller report, which is just reveal all of the facts that are lacking in the report and the fact that this president has done nothing wrong that rises to a level of an impeachable crime and so I think a short set of hearings in Judiciary.”