House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) told George Stephanopoulos that his Committee plans to hold President Donald Trump accountable for his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Although the unclassified, unredacted transcript showed that no quid pro quo took place, Schiff believes impeachment is still necessary. He believes Trump failed to protect America's elections.
"I intend to hold the president accountable and I intend to do it with our own investigation. And what we have seen already is damning because what we have seen in that call record is a president of the United States using the full weight of his office, with a country behold to America for its defense, even as Russian troops occupy part of its land, and the president used that opportunity to try to coerce that leader to manufacture dirt on his opponent and interfere in our election," he said.
"It's hard to imagine a series of facts more damning than that. So yes, we're going to get to the bottom of it."
"Let me stop you right there because we're already hearing some of the president's defenders, even those who sometimes say the call was not appropriate, say yes, that in the absence of an explicit quid pro quo, some kind of statement from the president or a document that says, 'We are withholding the aid until you do that investigation.' That is what is necessary to pursue impeachment," Stephanopoulos said. "That explicit quid pro quo. What's your response to that?"
"Well, that's nonsense," Schiff replied. "It is an illegal, improper violation of oath, a violation of his duty to defend our elections and our Constitution, for the president to merely ask for foreign interference in our elections. That is enough that our president said, 'I want you to do us a favor' and though he added immediately after the Ukraine president talked about the need to get more javelins and more weapons to defend against Russia, so we don't have to show a quid pro quo, although this conversation comes awfully close."
According to Schiff, it's important to note that Trump had the conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky "at a time when the president is withholding hundreds of millions of dollars to Ukraine."
"The Ukrainian people and their president are not stupid," Schiff explained. "And neither are the American people. And they can see and understand and appreciate a shakedown when they see it going down and that's exactly what this was."
We’ll conduct a complete investigation to hold this president accountable.— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) September 29, 2019
But what we’ve already seen in his call is damning.
Trump tried to coerce a foreign leader to make up dirt on his opponent and interfere in our election.
Violating his oath and undermining our security. pic.twitter.com/iHTXPw9zmI