Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) said the “veneer has been torn away” from the White House scheme to pressure Ukraine into helping President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign.
The House Intelligence Committee chairman reacted to EU ambassador Gordon Sondland’s bombshell testimony during a brief break in the impeachment hearing, and Schiff put top administration officials on notice.
“This is among the most significant evidence to date and what we have just heard from Ambassador Sondland is that the knowledge of this scheme, this conditioning of the White House meeting, of the security assistance to get the deliverable that the president wanted, these two political investigations that he believed would help his re-election campaign was a basic quid pro quo,” Schiff said.
“It was the conditioning of official acts for something of great value to the president, these political investigations,” the chairman added. “It goes right to the heart of the issue of bribery, as well as other potential high crimes or misdemeanors.”
Schiff warned that other senior administration officials were directly implicated by Sondland’s testimony.
“We also have heard for the first time that knowledge of this scheme was pervasive,” Schiff said. “The secretary of state (Mike Pompeo) was aware of it, the acting chief of staff (Mick) Mulvaney was aware of it, and, of course, at the very top, Donald Trump through his personal lawyer and others was implementing it, and so this I think only goes to underscore just how significant the president’s obstruction of this investigation has been.”
“We now can see the veneer has been torn away,” he added, “just why Secretary Pompeo and President Donald Trump do not want any of these documents provided to Congress because apparently they show, as Ambassador Sondland has testified, that the knowledge of this scheme to condition official acts, the White House meeting and $400 million in security assistance to an ally at war with Russia was conditioned on political favors that the president wanted for his re-election. So I think a very important moment in the history of this inquiry.”
Carl Bernstein: There are 7-9 ‘wobbly’ Republicans who want witnesses but Mitch McConnell is trying to block them
In a CNN panel discussion Wednesday, notorious Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein revealed that there are seven to nine Republican senators who are wavering after the compelling argument that the House has provided for the impeachment. The problem, however, is that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is refusing to allow any break from the party line.
"I think this is a hugely damaging narrative that was laid out today, and that Mitch McConnell understands, and has understood for a while that this hugely damaging narrative was going to affect his members," said Bernstein. "And that his strategy -- I've talked to some Republicans about this -- #MidnightMitch is to wear out his own members so that they don't vote for more witnesses because there are six, seven, eight, nine wobbly Republicans."
Republican Kevin McCarthy gets taken down by former top GOP colleague
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was attacked by a former Republican colleague who alleged McCarthy and his fellow members of Congress have allowed the House GOP to become the official shill for the White House.
In a profile for the New York Times, former Oversight Committee Chairman Tom Davis (R-VA) shamed the GOP House for the way that a once-respectable institution has fallen.
“Congress no longer operates as an independent branch of government, but as an appendage of the executive branch,” said Davis. “He is made for that role.”
Former senator reveals to Maddow how one brave Democrat can reveal key document in impeachment trial
Near the end of Wednesday's impeachment trial, Chief Justice John Roberts announced that an agreement had been made to allow senators to read supplemental testimony from Vice President Mike Pence aide Jennifer Williams.
The document will remain classified, despite claims that there is no classified material in the document, only evidence that is damning to the president.
"In terms of this document potentially being improperly classified, which is something that has been raised in writing by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and raised on the floor of the Senate tonight by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)," MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow noted. "Obviously, it was the vice president's office that said it was classified, they are getting publicly criticized for that. If it has been improperly classified and it should be something that the public can see, who adjudicates that?"