Two members of the House Intelligence Committee responded to developments over the weekend in the impeachment inquiry, including State Department official David Holmes’ closed door testimony, and looked toward next week’s impeachment hearings in an interview on ABC’s «This Week.»
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«I don’t think the evidence has been building at all,» said Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah. «I think the evidence is crumbling. I think the Democrats know they’re in trouble on this, which is why we keep moving the goalposts.»
«Let’s get real clear on what we’re talking about here: What we’re talking about here is that the president of the United States used taxpayer-funded military assistance to pressure a foreign leader to help him in his election campaign,» responded Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y.
«That is solicitation of a bribe and that is an impeachable offense listed in the Constitution,» he added, going on to suggest that U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland’s testimony this week will support the accusation.
(MORE: 5 key takeaways from testimony by former Ukraine Amb. Marie Yovanovitch)
When Maloney asked Stewart if he would join him in calling on the State Department to release evidence related to the impeachment inquiry, the Utah congressman said, «You bet, because I because I don’t think there’s anything there at all that is going to implicate the president.»
Meanwhile, Stewart asked Maloney to join his and other Republican’s call to get the original whistleblower to testify.
The first public impeachment hearings occurred on Capitol Hill this week, with William Taylor, the top diplomat in Ukraine, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent speaking to the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday and former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testifying Friday.
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney speaks the House Intelligence Committee hearing. | Rep. Chris Stewart, holds up a copy of the transcript of a phone call between US President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Taylor testified that one of his staffers had overheard a phone call between Sondland and President Donald Trump, wherein the president allegedly asked about the status of «the investigations.»
That new detail led to Holmes telling lawmakers in a closed-door deposition that he heard the president ask about an investigation he requested from the Ukrainian president, according to a copy of his opening statement obtained by ABC News. CNN first reported the details of Holmes’ remarks.
Trump trashed Yovanovitch in a tweet during her testimony Friday, comments that Democrats quickly called witness intimidation.
(MORE: 5 key takeaways from the 1st day of the public impeachment hearing)
Yovanovitch testified during the hearing that she found the tweet «very intimidating.»
On «This Week,» Stewart doubted that Yovanovitch was intimidated by Trump’s tweet and questioned including the president’s tweet in the impeachment inquiry.
«If your basis for impeachment is going to include a tweet, that shows you how weak the evidence for that impeachment is,» the Republican congressman said.
(MORE: Democrats accuse Trump of witness intimidation for trashing former amb. to Ukraine)
Maloney also responded to an accusation that Hunter Biden benefited from the former vice president’s role by bringing up Trump’s own children.
«If you want to have a conversation about how the sons of powerful people or children of powerful people benefit from their parents’ office-holding, I’m happy to have that conversation,» he said. «And I say we invite Donald Trump Jr., Eric, Ivanka and Jared to join in.»
Sondland, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and former U.S. envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker are expected to testify publicly next week.