Chief Justice, senators learned counsel for the president. You'll be pleased to know this is the last presentation of the evening. And. As I started last night, I made reference to some good advice I got from a encouraging voice that said keep it up, but not too long.
Tonight, I got some equally good advice to be immortal. You don't need to be eternal. And I will do my best not to be eternally eternal.
First point I'd like to make is I'm tired. I don't know about you, but I'm exhausted and I can only imagine how you feel. But I'm also very deeply grateful for just how you have attended to these presentations and discussions over the last few days. Deeply grateful. I can tell how much consideration you've given to our point of view and the president's point of view. And that's all we can ask. The end of the day. All we can ask is that you hear us out and make the best judgment that you can consistent with your conscience and our constitution.
Now, I want to start out tonight with where we began when we first appeared before you about a week ago.
And that is with the resolution itself, with what the president is charged with in the articles and how that holds up now that you have heard the evidence from the House. Donald Trump was impeached in Article 1 for abuse of power. And that article provides that in his conduct of the office of president of the United States and in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of president of the United States and to the best of his ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and is in violation of its constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
Donald J. Trump has abused the powers of his presidency in that using the powers of his high office. President Trump solicited the interference of a foreign government Ukraine in the 2020 United States presidential election. President Trump solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine in the 2020 election. That has been proved. He did so through a scheme or course of contract that included soliciting the government, Ukraine, to publicly announce investigations that would benefit his re-election, harm the election prospects of a political opponent and influence the 2012 U.S.
presidential election to his advantage. That has been proved. President Trump also sought to pressure the government of Ukraine to take these steps by conditioning official U.S. government acts of significant value to Ukraine on its public announcement of the investigations that has been proved. President Trump engaged in the scheme or course of conduct for corrupt purposes in pursuit of personal political benefit that has been proved. In doing so, President Trump used the power of the presidency in a manner that compromised the national security of the United States and undermined the integrity of the United States democratic process that has been proved.
He thus injured, ignored and injured the interests of the nation that has been proved. President Trump engaged in this scheme or course of conduct through the following means President Trump acting both directly and through his agents within and outside the United States government corruptly solicited the government of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations into a political opponent, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden. Junior, that has been proved.
A discredited theory promoted by Russia, alleging that Ukraine rather than Russia interfered in the 2016 United States presidential election. That has been proved with the same corrupt motives.
President Trump acting both directly and through his agents within and outside the U.S. government, conditioned to official acts on the public announcements that he had requested. The release of three hundred ninety one million dollars of U.S. taxpayer funds that Congress had appropriated on a bipartisan basis for the purpose of providing vital military and security assistance to Ukraine to oppose Russian aggression and which President Trump had ordered suspended. That has been proved. And be a head of state meeting that the white at the White House, which the president of Ukraine sought to demonstrate continued United States support for the government of Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression, that has been proved.
Faced with public revelation of his actions, President Trump ultimately released the military and security assistance to the government of Ukraine, but has persisted in openly and corruptly urging and soliciting Ukraine to undertake investigations for his personal political benefit that has been proved.
These actions were consistent with President Trump's previous invitation's of foreign interference in U.S. elections. That has been proved in all of this.
President Trump abused the powers of the presidency by ignoring and injuring national security and other vital national interests to obtain an improper personal political benefit that has been proved.
He also betrayed the nation by abusing his office to enlist a foreign power in corrupting democratic elections that has been proved. Wherefore?
President Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security and the Constitution, if allowed to remain in office and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-government and the rule of law that has been proved.
President Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States.
That will be for you to decide. But the facts have been proved. Those facts are not contested. We have met our burden. Article 2. Obstruction of Congress. The Constitution provides that the House of Representatives representatives shall have the sole power of impeachment and the president shall be removed from office on a pitchman for and conviction of treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors in his conduct of the office of the President in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of president.
Nine states and to the best of his ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. Donald J. Trump has directed the unprecedented, categorical and indiscriminate defiance of subpoenas issued by the House of Representatives pursuant to its sole power of impeachment. That has been proved. President Trump has abused the powers of the presidency in a manner offensive to and subversive of the Constitution, in that the House of Representatives has engaged in impeachment inquiry focused on President Trump's corrupt solicitation of the government of Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 U.S.
That has been proved as part of this impeachment inquiry. The committee is undertaking the investigation, served subpoenas, seeking documents and testimony deemed vital to the inquiry for various executive branch agencies and offices and current and former officials. That has been proved in response. Without lawful cause or excuse. President Trump directed executive branch agencies, offices and officials not to comply with those subpoenas. That has been proved. President Trump thus interposed the powers of the presidency against the lawful subpoenas of the House of Representatives and assumed to himself functions and judgments necessary to exercise the sole power of impeachment vested in the Constitution.
In the House of Representatives, that has been proved. President Trump abused the powers of his high office. Through the following means no one directing the White House to defy a lawful subpoena by withholding the production of documents sought therein by the committees that has been proved directing other executive branch agencies and offices to defy lawful subpoenas and withhold the production of documents and records from the committees. In response to which the Department of State, the Office of Management Budget. Department of Energy Department.
Defense refused to produce a single record or document that has been proved. Directing current and former executive branch officials not to cooperate with the committees in response to which nine administration officials defied subpoenas for testimony, namely John Michael, Mick Mulvaney, Robert B Blair, John Eisenberg, Michael Ellis, Preston Wells Griffith, Russell T Vought, Michael Duffy, Brian McCormack and T alric Brekke Bill. That has been proved. These actions were consistent with President Trump's previous efforts to undermine United States government investigations into foreign interference in U.S.
elections that has been proved through these actions.
President Trump sought to arrogate to himself the right to determine the propriety, scope and nature of an impeachment inquiry into his own conduct, as well as the unilateral prerogative to deny any and all information to the House of Representatives in the exercise of its sole power of impeachment.
That has been proved in the history.
Of the republic. No precedent has ever ordered the complete defiance of an impeachment inquiry. Or sought to obstruct and impede so comprehensively the ability of the House of Representatives to investigate high crimes and misdemeanors, that has been proved.
The abuse of office served to cover up the president's own repeated misconduct and to seize and control the power of impeachment and thus to nullify a vital safeguard vested solely in the House of Representatives that has been proved in all of this. President Trump has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as president and subversive of constitutional government to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest manifest injury of the people of the United States, that has been proved.
Whereas or wherefore President Trump by such conduct has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to the Constitution if allowed to remain in office and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-government and the rule of law that has been proved.
President Trump thus warrants impeachment. And trial removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States, that will be for you to determine. Let me say something about this second article. The facts of the president's defiance of Congress. Our very simple. Because they were so uniform, because they were so categorical. Because they are so uncontested. But do don't mistake for a moment the fact that it was simple and it and.
Quick to present that course of conduct compared with a sophisticated campaign to coerce Ukraine into thinking that that second article is any less significant than the first.
Do not believe that for a moment. If there is no article to let me tell you something. There will never be an Article 1. If there is no Article 2, there will never of any kind or shape or form be an article one. And why is that? Because you and we lack the power to investigate a president. There will never be an article one, whether that article one is abuse of power or that article one is treason. Or that article one is bribery.
There will never be an article one if the Congress can't investigate an impeachable offense.
If the Congress cannot because the president prevents it. Investigate the president's own wrongdoing. There will never be an Article 1. Because there will be no more impeachment power. It will be gone. It will be gone. As I said before, our relationship with Ukraine will survive. God willing, our relationship with Ukraine will survive and Ukraine will prosper.
And we will get beyond this ugly chapter of our history. But if we are to decide here that a president, United States can simply say under Article 2, I can do whatever I want and I don't have to treat a co-equal branch of government like it exists.
I don't have to give it any more than the back of my hand. That. Will be an unending injury to this country. Ukraine will survive. And so will we. But that. We'll be an unending injury to this country because the balance of power that our founders set out will never be the same. We'll never be the same. The president can simply say, I'm going to fight all subpoenas. And I'll tell you something else, truism in the courts, is justice true here in the Senate?
Where they say justice delayed is justice denied.
You give this president or any other the unilateral power to delay as long as he or she likes. To litigate matters for years and years in the courts and do not fool yourself into thinking it is anything less. In April will be a year since we subpoenaed Domme again and there is no sign of an end to that case. And I'll tell you, when it gets the Supreme Court, you might think that's the end. And that's just the end of the first chapter.
Because Don McGann is in court saying I'm absolutely immune from testimony. Now, that's been rejected by every court that's looked at it. But. We'll see what the court of appeals says and then we'll see if it goes to an on bond court of appeals and then we'll see what the Supreme Court says and when we prevail in the Supreme Court. You know what happens. That's not the end of the matter. It comes back to the trial court and then.
Well, they can't claim absolute immunity more, the can't claim that we don't even have to bother showing up. So now we're going to turn to plan B. Executive privilege. Where did I say we can't and won't answer any of the questions that are really pertinent to your impeachment inquiry?
And let's start out in district court and then go to the court appeals and then go on back and go to the Supreme Court. You can game the system for years. Justice delayed is justice denied and so is true about presidential accountability.
So when you suggest or I suggest or anyone suggests or the White House suggest, why doesn't the Congress why didn't the House just exhaust their remedies? As if in the Constitution, where it says the House shall have the sole power of impeachment as an asterisk, that says after exhausting all court remedies and for in court the district court and said then seek relief in the court appeals and after that go in the Supreme Court. Let's not kid ourselves about what that really means.
What that really means is you allow the president to control the timing of his own impeachment or if it will ever.
Be permitted. To come before this body. That is not an impeachment power. That is the absence of an impeachment power. Article 2 is every bit as important as Article 1 without Article 2, there is no Article 1 ever again, no matter how egregious this president's conduct or any of it is fundamental to the separation of powers.
If you can't have the ability to enforce an impeachment power, you might as well not put it in the Constitution. Shortly. The president's lawyers will have a chance to make their presentation. And as we will not have the ability to respond to what they say. I want to give you a little preview of what I think they're going to have in store for you. So that when you do here, you can put it into some perspective. I expect that they will attack the process.
I don't think that's any mystery. But I want to tell you both what I expect they will share with you and what it really means when you cut through all the chaff. What does it really mean that they're saying. So here's what I expect that they will tell you the process was so unfair. It was the most unfair in the history of the world.
Because in the house, they took depositions, how dare they take depositions, how dare they listen to Trey Gowdy, how dare they follow the Republican procedures that preceded their investigation?
How dare they?
And they were so secret in the bunker in the basement, as if whether it's on the ground floor of the basement of the first floor makes any difference. Those super secret depositions in which only a hundred members of Congress equivalent to the entire Senate could participate. That's how secret they were. That's how exclusive they work. Every Democrat, every Republican on three committees could participate. Course I was enough, so you had even more storm the skiff. Right. So if 100 people can participate.
But you heard earlier. But the Republicans weren't allowed to participate.
That's just false. You know how we did it in those super-secret depositions and you can look this up yourself because we released the transcripts. We got an hour. They got an hour. We got forty five minutes. They got forty five minutes. And we did that back and forth until everyone was done asking their questions.
Now you're your own chairman, shift was so unfair he wouldn't allow us to ask our questions. Well, there were certain questions I didn't allow. Questions like who's the whistleblower? Because we want to punish that whistleblower. Because, yes, some of us in this house and in this house believe we ought to protect whistleblowers. So, yes, I did not allow the outing of the whistleblower. So when they say the chairman wouldn't allow certain questions. That's what they mean.
That means that we protect people, have the courage to come forward and blow the whistle that we don't think.
Though the president might that they're traitors and spies to believe that someone who blows the whistle on misconduct of the serious nature that you now know took place is a traitor or spy. There is only one way you can come to that conclusion. And that is if you believe you are the state. And that anything that contradicts you is treason. That is the only way that you can conceive of someone who exposes wrongdoing is a traitor or a spy, but that is exactly how this president views those who expose his wrongdoing because he is the state.
Like any good monarch, he is the state. And you'll hear the president wasn't allowed to participate in the Judiciary Committee. Well, that's false, too, as you've heard.
The president, the same rights that our proceedings as President Nixon and President Clinton. But nonetheless, you'll hear it was so unfair and one other thing that was really unfair is all the subpoenas were invalid because the House didn't pass a resolution announcing its impeachment inquiry.
Never mind that we actually did. The problem was they said, well, we hadn't. And then we did, and then the problem was, well, you did. Now, of course, as you know, the Consitution says the House will have the sole power of impeachment. If we want to do it by House resolution, I can do it by House resolution. We want to do it by committee. We can do it by committee. It is not the president's place to tell us how to conduct an impeachment proceeding any more than it is the president's place to tell you how you should try it.
So when you see that eight page diatribe from the White House counsel saying we should have been able to have a resolution in the House or we should have an adult out of this, what you should hear, what they really mean is Donald Trump had the right to control his own impeachment. Proceed. And it's an outrage that Donald Trump didn't get to the right the rules of his own impeachment proceeding in the House.
You give a president that right, there is no impeachment power, but when you hear them say that, when you hear them complain about depositions that were the same as the Republicans or the right to participate. That was the same in Clinton and Nixon. And by the way, they weren't allowed to call witnesses, they said, well, three of the 12 witnesses that we heard in our open hearings were the minority witness requests.
So you'll hear those arguments the most unfair in history. The fact is we had the same process. And those other impeachment's the majority did not surrender its subpoena power to the minority. You know what it did? It said you can subpoena witnesses. And if the majority doesn't agree, you can force a vote. That is the same process we had here. The majority does not surrender its subpoena power didn't in the prior impeachments didn't in this. When they say the process was unfair, what they're really mean is don't look at what the president did, for God's sake, don't look at what the president did.
Now, you'll also hear, I think the second thing you'll hear from the president's team is attack the managers. Those managers are just awful. They're terrible people, especially that shift guy. He's the worst. He's the worst. And Exhibit A. He mocked the president, he mocked the president. He mocked the president as if he was shaking down the leader of another country like he was an organized crime figure. He mocked the precedent, he said it was like the president said, listen, Zelinsky, cause I'm only going to say this seven times.
Well, I discovered something very significant by mocking the president, and that is for a man who loves to mock others, he does not like to be mocked. So turns out he's got a pretty thin skin. Who would have thought it? Never mind that. I said I wasn't using his words before I said it and I wasn't using his words after I said it and I said I was making a parody of his words. It's an outrage.
He mocked the precedent that Shiff terrible. They will attack my other colleagues, too. Four things said in the heat of debate here on the floor. We're reaching the wee hours of the morning. And they'll attack some of my colleagues who aren't even in this chamber. Maybe they'll attack the squad. That's a perennial favorite with the president. They took the squad. You should ask, what does that have to do with the price of beans? But you can expect a tax on all kinds of members of the House that have nothing to do with the issues before you.
And when you hear those attacks, you should ask yourself. Awayfrom what do they want to distract my attention? Because nine times out of ten it will be the president's misconduct. But look for it. Attacks on the managers. Attacks on other House members. Attacks on the speaker.
Attacks on who knows what. It's all. Of the same ilk. Whatever you do, just don't consider the president's misconduct. You'll also hear. Tax on the Constitution. Of course, it won't be framed, isn't tacked on the Constitution. But that's really what it represents. And that is abuse of power doesn't violate the Constitution. Presence of nine states have every right to abuse their power. That's the argument. OK, I know it's a hard argument to make, right?
Presidents have a constitutional right to abuse their power. And how dare the House of Representatives charge a president with abusing his power?
Now, I'm looking forward to that constitutional argument by Alan Dershowitz. Because I want to know why abusing power and trust is not impeachable now. But it was a few years ago. Because the last time I checked. I don't think there was a significant change in the Constitution between the time he said it wasn't reachable and the time he's saying now that apparently it is not impeachable. So I'm looking forward to that argument, but I'm also looking forward to Ken Starr's presentation.
Because. During the Clinton impeachment, he maintained that a president not only could but must be impeached for obstructing justice. That Clinton, Bill Clinton needed to be impeached because he lied under oath about sex and to do so.
Obstructed justice. You can be impeached for obstructing justice, but you cannot be impeached for obstructing Congress. Now, I have to confess, I don't know exactly how that's supposed to work. Because the logical conclusion from that is Ken Starr saying that Bill Clinton's mistake was in showing up under subpoena. That Bilkins mistake was not saying I'm going to fight all subpoenas. Bill Clinton's mistake. Was not taking the position that under Article 2 he could do whatever he wanted.
Does that really make any sense? You can be impeached for obstructing. Your own branch of government, but you cannot be impeached for obstructing a co-equal branch of government. That would make no sense to the framers. I have to think. Over the centuries as they've watched us. They would be astonished that anyone would take that argument seriously. Or could so miss apprehend how this balance of power is supposed to work. So I look forward to that argument.
And maybe when they make that argument, they can explain to us why their position on abuse of power isn't even supported by their own attorney general. So I hope they will answer why even their own attorney general doesn't agree with it. Not to mention, by the way, the constitutional law expert call by the Republicans in the House who also testified as to abuse of power, that it is impeachable. You don't need a crime. That's impeachable. Now, when you hear them make these arguments.
Cannot be impeached for abusing your power. This is what it really means. We cannot defend his conduct. And so we want to make it go all the way without even having to think about that. You don't even need to think about what the president did because the House charged it wrong. And so don't even consider what the president did. That's what that argument means. We can't defend the indefensible. So we have to fall back on even if he abused his office, even if he did all the things he's accused of.
That's perfectly fine. There's nothing that can be done about it. Now, you'll also hear as part of the defense. And you heard this from Jay Sekulow is the think the last thing he said there was a law.
And then he step back to the table. The whistleblower. Now, I don't really know what that meant. But I suspect you'll hear more of that. The whistleblower. The whistleblower, it's his or her fault that we're here, the whistleblower. You know, I would encourage you to read the whistleblower complaint again when you read that complaint again. You will see just how remarkably accurate it is. It's astonishingly accurate. You know, for all the times the president is out there saying.
That flight was all wrong, was all wrong. You read it now that you have heard the evidence, you read it and you will see how remarkably right the whistleblower got it.
Now, when that complaint was filed, so obviously before we had our depositions and had our hearings. All of which obviated the need for the whistleblower in the beginning, we wanted the whistleblower to come and testify. Because all we knew about was the complaint. But then we were able to hear from firsthand witnesses about what happened. And then something else happened. The president and his allies began threatening the whistleblower. And the life of a whistleblower was at risk.
And what was the point in exposing that whistleblower to the risk of his or her life when we had the evidence we needed? What was the point? Except retribution. Retribution. And the president wants it still. You know why? The president is mad at the whistleblower. Because but for the whistleblower. He wouldn't have been caught. And that is an unforgivable sin. He is the state, and but for the whistleblower, the president wouldn't have caught.
For that, he's a spy and he's guilty of treason. Now, what does he add to this? Nothing but retribution. A pound of flesh. You'll also hear the president's defense. They hate the president, they hate the president. You should not consider the president's misconduct because they hate the president. What I've said, I leave you to your own judgments about the president. I only hate what he's done to this country. I grieve for what he's done to this country.
But when they make the argument to you that this is only happening because they hate the president, it is just another of the myriad forms of. Please do not consider what the president did. Whether you like the president or you dislike the president is immaterial. It's all about the Constitution and his misconduct. If it meets the standard of impeachable conduct, as we have proved, it doesn't matter. Would you like him? It doesn't matter what you dislike him.
What matters is whether he is a danger to the country because he will do it again. And none of us can have confidence based on his record. That he will not do it again because he is telling us every day that he will. Now you'll hear the further defense that Biden is corrupt, that Joe Biden is corrupt. That Hunter Biden is corrupt. This is their defense. So another defense because what they hope to achieve in the Senate trial is what they couldn't achieve through their scheme if they couldn't get Ukraine to smear the Bidens.
They want to use this trial to do it instead. So let's call Hunter Biden. Let's smear the Bidens. Let's succeed in the trial with what we couldn't do with this scheme. That's the goal. Now, I don't know whether Rudy Giuliani. Who said he was going to present his report? To some of the senators has presented his report. Maybe he has. Maybe you'll get to see what's in Rudy Giuliani's report. Maybe you'll get to see some documents smearing the Bidens produced by whoknows.
Maybe these same Russian corrupt former prosecutors. But make no mistake about what that's about. It's about completing the object of the scheme through other means, through the means of this trial. You may hear the argument. That what the president is doing when he is obstructing Congress is protecting the office for future presidents. Because there is nothing more important to Donald Trump than protecting the office of the presidency for future presidents. And I suppose when he withheld military aid from Ukraine, he was trying to protect future presence.
And when he sought to coerce a foreign power to intervene in our election, he was doing it on behalf of future presidents because future presidents might likewise wish to cheat in a further election. I don't think that argument goes very far.
But I expect you'll hear it. I expect you'll hear. You may hear an argument that the president was really concerned about corruption. And he was concerned about burden-sharing. I won't spend much time on that because you've heard the evidence on that. There is no indication that this had anything to do with corruption and every every bit of evidence that it had nothing to do with fighting corruption or burden-sharing. Indeed, nothing about the burden changed. Between the time he froze the aide and the time he released the aide, there was no new effort to get others to contribute more.
And Europe contributes a great deal as it is.
This is an after the fact rationalization.
You probably saw the public reporting that there was an exhaustive effort after the fact to come up with a post-hoc rationalization for this scheme.
I would like to show you the product of that investigation. But I'll need your help because it is among the documents they refused to turn over. They will show you just what an after the fact. Invention. This argument is. I expect you'll hear the argument. Obama did it. Obama did it. Now, that may take several different forms, but the form of Obama did it that I'm referring to is Obama also withheld aid. Honestly, I think that argument is an insult to our intelligence.
Because the argument is Obama withheld aid from Egypt and he made a condition with it. Obama withheld aid from Egypt after they had a revolution. And circumstances change and you know something? He didn't hide it from Congress. In fact, Congress supported it. And yes, there are times when withhold aid. For a good policy reason, not a corrupt effort to get help in your election. The American people know the difference between right and wrong. They can recognize the difference between aid that is withheld for a malicious purpose and aid that is held in the best interests of our national security.
But you'll hear the Obama did it argument. You will hear the call was perfect. You'll hear the call was perfect. Now, I suspect the reason they will make the argument the call was perfect is because the president insists that they do. I don't think they really want to have to make that argument. You wouldn't either. But they have a client to represent, and so they will make the argument. The call was perfect. And they will also make the argument.
Ukraine thinks the call was perfect. Ukraine says there was no pressure. What that really means is. Ukraine wants a future. Ukraine knows it's still beholden to us for aid. Ukraine still hasn't gotten in through the door of the White House. Ukraine knows that if they acknowledged that they were shaken down by the president, the United States. The president, United States will make them pay. So when you hear them say Ukraine felt no pressure and their proof is because the Ukraine president doesn't want to call the president United States.
A bad name. You'll know why. Because they need America. They need America. The framers did not expect you to leave your common sense at the door. Now you'll also hear the defense. The president said there was no quid pro quo. The president said there was no quid pro quo. I guess that's the end of the story. This is a. Well-known principle of criminal law that if the defendant says he didn't do it, he couldn't have done it.
If the defendant learns that he's been caught and he says he didn't do it, he couldn't have done it. That doesn't hold up in any court in the land. It shouldn't hold up here. You'll also hear a variation of the argument, no harm, no foul. They got the money. They got the money and they got the meeting even though they didn't. They got the meeting on the sidelines of the U.N.. It's kind of a drive by, but they got a meeting.
No harm, no foul, right? Meeting on the sidelines is pretty much the same thing, right, as a head of state meeting the Oval Office. Of course it's not.
Why do you think at that meeting at the United Nations, the present Ukraine was still saying, hey, when am I going to get to come to town? He certainly recognizes the difference. And we should, too. What's more. There's every bit of harm and every bit of foul in withholding aid from an ally at war and releasing it only when you're caught. Russia knows now about the. Wedge in our relations with Ukraine. The moment Russia found out about this, and I have to imagine, given how good their intel services are, they did not have to wait for Politico to break the story any more than Ukraine did.
In fact, there's so deep penetration of Ukraine. I would have to expect the Russians would have found out at least as early as Ukrainians did not earlier. The moment Ukraine learned and Russia learned there was harm. Because Ukraine knew they couldn't trust us. Russia knew they could take advantage of us. There was immediate harm. And because someone is caught, because a scheme is flawed, it doesn't make that scheme any less. Criminal and corrupt. You get no pass when you get caught.
Now expect one of the fences you'll see as they will play you. Certain testimony from the House where my colleagues on the other side of the aisle ask questions like, did the president ever say he was bribing Ukraine? Did you ever see him actually bribe Ukraine? Did you hear him say that he was going to bribe Ukraine? Did you personally see this yourself? And if you didn't see it, if he didn't lay it out for you, then it couldn't have happened.
Two plus two does not equal for. You are not allowed to consider anything except for a televised. Confession by the president. And even then, don't consider. So I imagine you'll hear some of that testimony. Where witnesses are asked. They work for the Defense Department. Well, did the president ever tell you? That he was conditioning the aid. Never mind that these are people don't necessarily even talk to the present. But I suspect you'll see some of that.
As I mentioned before, you hear the defense. We claim privilege. You can't impeach the president over the exercise of privilege. Never mind the fact that they never claimed privilege, they never asserted privilege. And you know why? You know why they never actually invoked privilege in the House. Is because they know that if they did, they'd have to produce the documents and they'd have to show what they were redacting and they didn't want to do even that they knew the overwhelming majority of the documents and witness testimony, there was no even colorable claim of privilege.
So they didn't want to even invoked all they would say is maybe someday. But you will hear that you can't be impeached for a claim of privilege they never made. So what are all these defenses mean? What do they mean, what are they mean collectively when you add them all up? What they mean is under Article 2, the president can do whatever he wants. That's really it. You know, that's really it stripped of all the detail and all the histrionics.
What they want us to believe is the president can do whatever he wants under Article 2. And there is nothing that you or the House can do about it. Robert, can, Robert Kennedy once said. Moral courage is a rare commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change the world, which yields most painfully to change. Moral courage is a rare commodity than bravery in battle.
I have to say, when I first read that. I wasn't sure I agreed. Moral courage is a rare quality than courage in battle. It just doesn't seem right. Wasn't sure I really agreed, and for a Democrat not to agree with a Kennedy is kind of a heresy. I'm sure some of my GOP colleagues feel the same way about the Kennedies, Louisiana. After all, what could be more brave than courage in battle? What could be more rare than courage in battle?
But then I got to visit, as I know all of you have our service members around the world. And see just how blessed we are. With an abundance of heroes by the millions who have joined the service of this country. Service members who every day demonstrate the most incredible bravery. I just have the greatest respect for them, for people like Jason Crowe. John McCain and Daniel, in a way, and so many others who've served in this body and the other or who've never served in office by the millions all around the country and all around the world.
It's the most incredible respect. It's an amazing thing. How common is their uncommon bravery? My father is 92. He's probably watching. Part of the Greatest Generation Left High School early to join the service. He tried to enlist in the Marine Corps and he failed the physical. So at the end of World War Two failed the physical. Bad eyesight and flat feet, which was apparently enough to fail the physical. So two weeks later, he went to try to enlist in the Army.
Thinking that maybe it's a different physical standard and even if it isn't, maybe I'll get a different examining physician. Turns out same standard, same physician and he record as my father.
And said, worse, you here two weeks ago. My father said, Yeah. And he said, you really want to get him that bad. My father said, Yeah. And he was in the army. Now the war was over. And so he never left the United States. And when he left the service, he went to the Universal Alabama. And about midway through, he wanted to get on with his life and he left college. And went out into the business world, something he always regretted.
Leaving college early. But I think in many ways you got a better education than I did. I think that. I was lucky to get a good education, but I think those like Jason and others who serve in the military and also went to school got the best education, because I think there's some things you can only learn by being in the military. Certainly you can't only learn, I think about war without going to war. And maybe there are things you just can't learn about life without going to war.
So those of you that have served have the most complete education. I think there is. But even so. Is moral courage. Really more rare. And that on the battlefield. And then I saw what Robert Kennedy meant by moral courage. Few, he said, are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows. The center of their colleagues and the wrath of their society. And then I understood. By that measure just how rare moral courage is.
How many of us are willing to brave the disapproval of our fellows center, of our colleagues and the wrath of our society? Just as those who have served in uniform can't fully understand, those who have not served in uniform can't fully understand what military service means. So too, there is a different kind of fraternity or sorority among those who have served in office.
I was selling my constituents there two kinds of jobs in Congress. And it's not Democrats and Republicans, it's those from a safe seat and those from an unsafe seat. And I'm sure the same is true of those from a safe state, an unsafe state. It's why I think there's a certain chemistry between members who represent those swing districts and states because they can step into each other's shoes. And one of the things that we in this fellowship of office holders understand that most people don't.
Is that real political courage doesn't come from disagreeing with our opponents, but from disagreeing with our friends? And with our own party. Because it means having to stare down accusations of disloyalty and betrayal. He's a Democrat in name only or she's a Republican in name only. What I said last night. If it resonated with anyone in this chamber. Didn't require courage. My views, as heartfelt as they are, reflect the views of my constituents. But what happens when our heartfelt views of right and wrong are in conflict with the popular opinion of our constituents?
What happens when our. Devotion to our oaths, to our values, to our love of country. Apart from the momentary passion of a large number of people back home. Those are the times that try our souls. CBS News reported last night that a Trump confidant said. That GOP senators were warned. Vote against your president, to vote against the president, and your head will be on a pike.
I don't know if that's true. Vote against the president in your head will be on a pike. I have to say, when I read that, and again, I don't know if that's true, but when I read that, I was struck by the irony, by the irony.
I hope it's not true. I hope it's not true. But I was struck by the irony of the idea. When we're talking about. A president who would make himself a monarch. That whoever that was would use the terminology of a penalty that was imposed by a monarch. Head on a pike. Just this week. America lost a hero. Thomas Railsback, he passed away on Monday, the day before the trial began. Some of you may have known or even served with Congressman Thomas Railsback, who was Republican from Illinois and the second ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee.
When that committee was conducting its impeachment inquiry into President Nixon. In July of 1974, as the inquiry was coming to a close, Congressman Railsback began meeting with a bipartisan group of members of the House. Three other Republicans and three Democrats. Here in the Senate, they might have called them the Gang of Seven. They gathered and they talked and they labored over language and ultimately helped develop a bipartisan support for the articles that led a group of Republican senators, including Barry Goldwater and Howard Baker, to tell President Nixon that he must resign.
Some say that the Nixon impeachment, but not a move forward, where it not for those for courageous Republicans led by Congressman Railsback. And it pained the congressman because he credited Nixon with giving him his seat. With getting him elected. He did it because he said. Because seeing all the evidence, it was something we had to do because the evidence was there. One of his aides, Ray LaHood, eulogized him, saying he felt an obligation to the Constitution to do what is right.
Now soon. Members of this body. We face the most momentous of decisions. Not as I said at the outset, between guilt and innocence, but a far more foundational issue. Should there be a fair trial? Shall the House be able to present its case with witnesses and documents through the use of subpoenas? As has been the case in every impeachment trial in history? Now, the president's lawyers have been making their case outside of this chamber, threatening to stall these proceedings with the assertion of false claims of privilege.
Having persuaded this body to postpone consideration of the witnesses and documents, they now appear to be preparing the ground to say it will be too late to consider them next week. But consider this. Of the hundreds of documents that we have subpoenaed, there is no colorable claim and none has been sorted.
To the degree that you could even make a claim, that claim has been waived to the degree that even superficially a claim would attach, it does not conceal misconduct. And what's more, to the degree that there were a dispute over whether a privilege applied. We have a perfectly good judge sitting behind me. Empowered by the rules of this body to resolve those disputes. And when the chief justice decides. Where a narrow application of privilege ought to apply. You will still.
Have the power to overrule him. How often do you get the chance to overrule a chief justice of the Supreme Court? You have to admit it's every legislator's dream. So let us not be fooled by the argument that it will take too long or persuaded that the trial must be over before the State of the Union. This is no parking ticket. We are contesting no shoplifting case. We are prosecuting. It is a matter of high crimes and misdemeanors.
How long is too long to have a fair trial, fair to the president and fair to the American people? The American people do not agree on much, but they will not forgive being deprived of the truth and certainly not because it took a back seat to expediency.
In his pamphlet of 1777, The American Crisis, Thomas Paine wrote, Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must undergo the fatigue of supporting. Is it too much fatigue? To call witnesses and have a fair trial. Are the blessings of freedom so meager? That we will not endure the fatigue of a real trial with witnesses and documents. President Lincoln in his closing message to Congress in December 1862. Said this, fellow citizens, we cannot escape history.
We of this Congress and this administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance or insignificance can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor to the latest generation.
I think he was the most interesting president in history. He may be the most interesting person in our history. This man who started out dirt poor. Dirt poor, like hundreds of thousands of other people, the time he had nothing. No money, no education. He educated himself. Educate himself, but he had a brain in that head of brilliance in that mind. It made him one of most incredible, not just presence, but people in history.
I think he's the most interesting character in our history. Out of the hundreds and hundreds of thousands of other Americans at the time. Why him? Why him? I think a lot about history as I know you do. Sometimes I think about how unforgiving history can be of our conduct. We can do a lifetime's work. Draft the most wonderful legislation help our constituents, and yet we may be remembered for none of that. But for a single decision we may be remembered.
Affecting the course of our country. I believe this may be one of those moments. A moment we never thought we would see. A moment when our democracy was gravely threatened and not from without, but from within. Russia, too, has a constitution. It's not a bad constitution. It's just a meaningless one. In Russia. They have trial by telephone. They have the same ostensible rights we due to a trial. They hear evidence and witnesses.
But before the verdict is rendered, the judge picks up the telephone and calls the right person to find out how it's supposed to turn out. Trial by telephone. Is that what we have here? Trial by telephone? Someone on the other end of the phone dictating what this trial should look like. The founders gave us more than words. They gave us inspiration. They may have receded into mythology, but they inspire us still and more than us. They inspire the rest of the world.
They inspire the rest of the world from their prison cells in Turkey. Journalists look to us.
From their internment camps in China, they look to us. From their cells in Egypt, those who gravatt in Tahrir Square for a better life look to us from the Philippines, those that were the victims and their families of mass extrajudicial killing. They look to us from Eligen Prison. They look to us from all over the world. They look to us. And increasingly, they don't recognize what they see. It's a terrible tragedy for them, it is a worst tragedy for us because there's nowhere else for them to turn.
They're not going to turn to Russia. They're not going to turn to China. They're not going to turn to Europe with all of its problems.
They look to us because we are still the indispensable nation. They look to us because we have a rule of law. They look to us because no one is above that law. And one of the things that separates us. From those people and elegant prison is the right to a trial. So right to a trial. Americans get a fair trial. And so I ask you. I implore you. Give America a fair trial. Give America a fair trial.
She's worth it. Thank you.