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Democratic Congressman Says Impeachment Inquiry Has Enough Evidence of Trump ‘Extortion Scheme’ to Move Forward

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Democratic Congressman Says Impeachment Inquiry Has Enough Evidence of Trump ‘Extortion Scheme’ to Move Forward

2019-11-11 11:00:42

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Eric Swalwell (Image source: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons)

With House Democrats moving the impeachment inquiry to public hearings this week, they’re either bluffing or know they have enough on Donald Trump to impeach him. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, says it’s the latter, that they have enough evidence in an “extortion scheme” to make this move.

The congressman said in an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that after hearing the testimonies of the witnesses who spoke to the three House committees leading the inquiry behind closed doors, moving ahead is warranted

“We have enough evidence from the depositions that we’ve done to warrant bringing this forward — evidence of an extortion scheme using taxpayer dollars to ask a foreign government to investigate the president’s opponent,” he said.

Last week House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) announced the impeachment inquiry was moving to public hearings beginning November  13. 

The first three witnesses who will testify publicly were all integral to the information that was learned behind closed doors: Acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, and a State Department deputy assistant secretary, George Kent.

“It’s important that the president has due process,” noted Swalwell. “It’s important that these witnesses raise their right hands and take questions from both Republicans and Democrats. The president is going to get that.” 

This is something that is important for the congressman to note, as the Democrats have been accused of not giving him his due process by the GOP and the president himself.

“This is America, and we don’t just have railroading of justice,” he added. “These witnesses should come public and, you know, the American people should judge for themselves, as well as we will, as to what happened here.” 

Another member of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Jim  Himes (D-CT), showed that the House Democrats are presenting a united front. While the buzzwords the past few months have been “quid pro quo,” those who have heard the testimony are likening Trump’s actions to extortion.

“I have two problems with ‘quid pro quo,” said Himes on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” 

“Number one: When you are trying to persuade the American people of something really pretty simple, which is that the president acted criminally and extorted  — in the way a mob boss would extort somebody — a vulnerable foreign country,” he explained, “it’s  probably best not to use Latin words to explain it.”

As his second point, he noted that “extortion doesn’t require a ‘you give me this, and I’ll give you that’ kind of quid pro quo. It simply requires using your muscle to get something that you don’t have a right to.” 

Most Republicans are sticking together to defend Trump, though some are saying it was not a quid pro quo, while others are saying it doesn’t matter one way or another whether it was or wasn't.

Rep Thornberry (R-TX), the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, said in an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” that he believes it was “inappropriate” for Trump to ask Ukrainian President  Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Trump’s political rivals in exchange for a White House visit and military aid, but it was “not impeachable.” 

The president, who has insisted all along that his call was “perfect,” tweeted that the GOP shouldn’t “be led into the fools trap” of describing the Zelensky call as “not perfect” yet also “not impeachable.”

“NOTHING WAS DONE WRONG!” he spelled out. 

However, it seems there is a definite difference of opinion with the House Democrats sitting in on the impeachment inquiry. They not only see it as wrong but also see it as extortion.

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