Democratic committee chairman Adam Schiff lays out a timeline of Trump’s shadow policy, and GOP ranking member Devin Nunes peddles conspiracy theories
Schiff, a former prosecutor, made a lengthy opening statement focusing on the extent of the Trump administration’s shadow policy in Ukraine that involved strongarming Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch politically motivated investigations that would benefit Trump’s reelection campaign.
Specifically, Trump wanted Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son for corruption. He also wanted Zelensky to look into a bogus conspiracy theory suggesting it was Ukraine, not Russia, that meddled in the 2016 election.
While employing his confidants to carry out his agenda, Trump withheld $391 million in military aid to Ukraine and held up a White House meeting that Zelensky desperately wanted.
Schiff also detailed testimony from other officials who said Gordon Sondland, the US’s ambassador to the EU, indicated that the “big stuff” Trump cared about with respect to Ukraine wasn’t about national security or foreign policy, but about “the Biden investigation” that Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was pushing for.
“To press a foreign leader to announce an investigation into his political rival, President Trump put his own personal and political interests above those of the nation,” Schiff said.
He continued: “If the President abused his power and invited foreign interference in our elections, if he sought to condition, coerce, extort, or bribe an ally into conducting investigations to aid his reelection campaign and did so by withholding official acts — a White House meeting or hundreds of millions of dollars of needed military aid — it will be up to us to decide, whether those acts are compatible with the office of the presidency.”
Nunes gave his own opening statement after Schiff spoke. He spent most of that time railing against the media, which he described as “Democrat puppets” and peddling conspiracy theories that have no basis in reality.