Published : Friday, November 1, 2019 | 4:23 AM
U.S. Congresswoman Judy Chu, who represents Pasadena and California’s 27th Congressional District, has voted to pass a resolution that begins the public phase of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, who is under investigation in the House of Representatives for soliciting interference from Ukraine in the 2020 elections.
The resolution set down rules for open hearings in the House Intelligence Committee, authorizes public release of deposition transcripts, establishes procedures for transferring evidence to the Judiciary Committee, and establishes due process rights for the President and his Counsel.
The intelligence committee is chaired by another Pasadena Congressional representative, Rep. Adam Schiff of the 28th District, which includes parts of West Pasadena.
The resolution passed Thursday with a largely party-line vote of 232-196.
In a statement after the vote, Chu said the House Intelligence Committee and other committees have been conducting investigations since the “alarming report from a whistleblower in the White House” about Trump’s telephone exchange with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in July.
“They’ve brought in numerous witnesses with firsthand knowledge to corroborate the claims that Trump betrayed his oath of office by using congressionally appropriated military aid to Ukraine as leverage to extort election interference from a foreign country,” Chu said. “This claim has been confirmed in public by both White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and the abridged call summary released by the White House. Twisting American foreign policy to serve his own political interests is an obvious abuse of power, and one the Constitution demands we address.”
Chu said it is time to present the case to the public, after both Democratic and Republican members of the House have had opportunities to question witnesses. The resolution launches that public process, she said.
“In the coming weeks, the American people will be presented with evidence that President Trump withheld aid to Ukraine while demanding an investigation into a political rival,” Chu continued. “Multiple members of the White House national security staff witnessed this and reported their alarm. Republicans have no defense for such obvious crimes, so they are instead complaining about a process they themselves defended during their Benghazi investigation. These complaints are a completely baseless attempt to distract from truly damning evidence.”
According to a whistle-blower complaint filed by a U.S. Intelligence official whose identity has not been made public, Trump allegedly asked the Ukrainian president to “investigate” allegations of wrongdoing by former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Joe Biden is seen as a potential Trump challenger in the 2020 elections.
The White House last month released what it said was a transcript of the conversation, but the president’s critics have said they suspect the transcript did not reflect what really transpired during the exchange.
Chu said the process that Thursday’s resolution opens is about “a clear establishing of facts.”
“Republicans oppose that process because they cannot argue the facts,” Chu continued. “As we move forward with a fair and transparent impeachment inquiry, there is one question that everybody will have to answer: Is it acceptable for the President to use Congressionally approved foreign aid as leverage to extort election help from a foreign power? The answer is a clear ‘no.’”