“If the president can simply refuse all oversight, particularly in the context of an impeachment proceeding, the balance of power between our two branches of government will be irrevocably altered,” Schiff said Wednesday in his opening statement of the first public impeachment hearing.
“That is not what the Founders intended, and the prospects for further corruption and abuse of power in this administration or any other will be exponentially increased,” Schiff added.
Schiff opened the hearing by laying out key parts of testimony three House committees leading the inquiry heard in weeks of closed-door depositions with several witnesses. The witnesses have alleged Trump withheld aid from Ukraine to get foreign leaders to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a 2020 presidential candidate.
“If this is not impeachable conduct, what is,” Schiff said.
Trump has dismissed the inquiry as a “partisan witch hunt.”