Despite being presented with a mountain of evidence that Trump abused his office, Republicans plan to stick by him.
Donald Trump once said he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and he wouldn't lose any support.
And House Republicans are intent on proving Trump's theory right, as GOP lawmakers plan to stick with Trump despite being presented with irrefutable evidence that Trump tried to force a vulnerable ally to announce investigations that would benefit Trump politically by withholding U.S. military aid.
After the public phase of impeachment hearings wrapped on Thursday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy vowed that every House Republican lawmaker planned to stick by Trump and vote against any articles of impeachment, according to CNN's Manu Raju.
In the process, McCarthy continued to spout debunked conspiracy theories about Ukrainian involvement in the 2016 presidential election, even after national security expert Fiona Hill warned Republicans in her testimony on Thursday that doing so only benefits Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"Based on questions and statements I have heard, some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country — and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did," Hill said in her opening statement on Thursday, referring to Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee. "This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves."
For now, the public phase of the hearings is over — despite the fact that key witnesses, including Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, former national security adviser John Bolton, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have all followed Trump's orders to obstruct the investigation and not testify.
The House Judiciary Committee will now be responsible for taking the evidence gathered and drafting articles of impeachment, which — if the committee drafts them — would head to the House floor for a vote at a to-be-determined date, according to Politico.
Here's what else is happening in impeachment news:
- It's not just House Republicans who plan to stick by Trump. Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) said that Senate Republicans — who would run the impeachment trial against Trump should the House pass articles of impeachment — will vote to acquit Trump no matter what.
- Speaking of Senate Republicans, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, one of Trump's top defenders on Capitol Hill, appears to be gearing up for an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden, Politico reported. This looks like an attempt to draw attention away from the Trump impeachment evidence, and satisfies Trump's attempt to smear a potential 2020 rival.
- With the public hearings now over, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will hold a town hall on Dec. 5 with CNN's Jake Tapper to talk about why Trump should be impeached.
- Mulvaney is attempting to distance himself from Trump's pressure campaign against Ukraine. Hill on Thursday testified that Mulvaney was a key player in the effort to force Ukraine into investigating Trump's political rivals. In a statement from his lawyer, Mulvaney attacked Hill as not having firsthand evidence. However, the statement doesn't actually deny that Mulvaney played a role, and Mulvaney has refused to testify under oath about his actions.
- Republicans have tried to make House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff the villain in the impeachment probe. But their efforts to attack him failed on Thursday, when they created a sign that praised Schiff for following House rules.
Come back Monday for more impeachment news.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.