House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tore into the Democrat-led House on Tuesday for its brazen use of political power to try to unseat President Donald Trump through impeachment.
During a news briefing on Capitol Hill after Democratic leadership announced articles of impeachment against Trump, McCarthy was asked if it is difficult to defend the president’s interactions with Ukraine regarding his campaign rivals, clearly referencing former Vice President Joe Biden.
The California Republican responded that it was not difficult to defend Trump, asserting the facts are on the chief executive’s side.
“No, it is not difficult to defend this president, because this president did nothing that’s impeachable,” McCarthy said. “It’s hard to defend Democrats on how they’re running this House and what they’re doing inside their majority. That’s the difficulty that I have.”
He listed some of the instances of unprecedented actions Democrats have taken in their push to impeach Trump, including moving the inquiry behind closed doors in the House Intelligence Committee and denying the president the opportunity to be represented by counsel at the proceedings or to call witnesses to speak in his defense.
“One of our greatest strengths is the rule of law,” McCarthy said. “Other countries admire us because we believe in the rule of law. We believe in due process, but not in Nancy Pelosi’s House when she becomes speaker.”
In extended remarks decrying House Democrats’ impeachment process, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy says, “No, it is not difficult to defend this president. But it is very difficult to defend this Congress.” https://t.co/2V1ezjhxUm pic.twitter.com/0BGIZ5I90e
— ABC News (@ABC) December 10, 2019
“So no, it is not difficult to defend this president, but it is very difficult to defend this Congress on what they have done, and history will not be kind to them,” he said.
A reporter then asked if McCarthy felt the president’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was “perfect” as Trump has described it on multiple occasions.
“Nothing on that phone call was wrong,” the lawmaker responded. “That was a case that has already been opened. The attorney general was already looking into it.”
“If somebody is an elected official, and they did something wrong, but they run for another office, somehow what they did is not wrong anymore?” McCarthy continued.
“They just introduced two articles [of impeachment], and your question is, ‘Is it perfect?'” he said. “The question is, ‘Is it impeachable?’ And the answer is, ‘Absolutely no.'”
In his introductory remarks before taking reporters’ questions, McCarthy made reference to testimony offered by George Washington Law School professor Jonathan Turley last week before the House Judiciary Committee, during which he argued Trump should not be impeached based on the current record.
“We watched in a hearing a Democrat constitutional scholar that did not vote for President Trump say this was the weakest, the thinnest, the fastest impeachment in the history of America,” McCarthy said.
“He then went to say, if there was an abuse, it would be abuse on the Democrats to move forward.”
In his testimony, Turley dismissed the notion that the president should face impeachment for obstruction of Congress merely because he has not provided all the witnesses and documents Democrats demanded.
The scholar said until the president or his administration officials defy a court order, Congress has no right to impeach him for obstructing justice.
“If you impeach a president, if you make a high crime and misdemeanor out of going to the courts, it is an abuse of power. It’s your abuse of power. You’re doing precisely what you’re criticizing the president of doing,” he said.
Turley further argued, Trump’s reference to Biden and his son Hunter Biden in the call is “worthy of criticism,” but is not evidence of an impeachable offense.
He pointed out if Trump “honestly believed that there was a corrupt arrangement with Hunter Biden that was not fully investigated by the Obama administration, the request for an investigation is not corrupt, notwithstanding its inappropriateness.”
Additionally, Turley highlighted the impeachment of Trump would mark the first time in American history when the action was taken with no underlying crime at issue.
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