Democrats accused President Donald Trump of putting himself before the country as they clashed with the ruling Republican party during the impeachment proceedings in a sharply divided US Congress on Monday. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler alleged that Trump is trying to undermine the 2020 election for his own benefit and demands a speedy impeachment process.
Nadler argued that President Trump put himself ahead of the interests of the country by allegedly abusing his powers and pressuring Ukraine to announce an investigation into former vice president Joe Biden, his potential challenger in the 2020 election. “President Trump withheld the aid and the meeting in order to pressure a foreign government to do him that favour. President Trump put himself before the country,” Nadler said.
The hearing was the first by House Judiciary Committee after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced last week that the House of Representatives - wherein the Democratic party enjoys a majority - will move ahead with its motion to impeach Trump, making him only the third president in American history to face removal by Congress.
“When the president got caught, when Congress discovered that the aid had been withheld from Ukraine, the president took extraordinary and unprecedented steps to conceal evidence from Congress and from the American people,” he said. "These facts are not in dispute," Nadler said. “The evidence shows that Trump, the president of the United States, has put himself before his country. He violated his most basic responsibilities to the people; he has broken his oath," he asserted.
House Intelligence Committee investigator Daniel Goldman accused Trump of an “unprecedented campaign of obstruction of Congress.” In a tweet, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said that there are five undisputable facts. "One there is no evidence of wrongdoing by Trump. Second, Ukraine said there was no pressure. Third lethal aid to Ukraine wouldn’t exist without Trump. Fourth there’s no obstruction whatsoever and finally this is an unfair and unprecedented impeachment process."
In his tweets, Trump reiterated that people should “read the transcripts” of his conversation with the Ukrainian president and that he has done no wrong. “The Do Nothing Democrats are a disgrace!” he said. Describing it as a "shame" impeachment, Republican Congressman Douglas Allen Collins said the institution of Congress as seen today is in danger.
“We see chairmen who are issuing subpoenas for personal vendettas. We see committees such as the Judiciary Committee that has held many, many substantive hearings, has been the very centre point of impeachment, being used as a rubber stamp because we get not our marching orders from this committee and what it should be doing but from the speaker and the Intelligence Committee chairmen,” he alleged.
“The economy is good. Job creation is up. The military is strong. Our country is safe. And the Judiciary Committee has been relegated to this. Why? Because they have the means, they have the motive, and they have the opportunity,” he said. “At the end of the day, all this is about is about a clock and a calendar, because they can't get over the fact Donald Trump is president of the United States and they don't have a candidate that they think and beat him. It's all political,” Collins said.
“As we have talked about before, this is a show. Unfortunately, today the witness who is supposed to be the star witness chose to take a pass and let his staff answer for him,” said the GOP Congressman.