House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-OH) argued on Tuesday that there are four consistent facts that undermine House Democrats’ impeachment strategy.
“There are four fundamental facts that have never changed, never changed,” Jordan told reporters following a closed-door congressional hearing. “Mr. Vindman is not the first one we have talked to who has been on the call — we have heard from President [Donald] Trump and [Ukrainian] President [Volodymyr] Zelensky. We have got the transcript.”
Jordan’s remarks came after Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman testified in front of the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight and Reform committees earlier in the day about his concerns over the phone call between Trump and Zelensky that kicked off the impeachment inquiry. Democrats have touted Vindman’s reliability since he is their first witness to have firsthand knowledge of the conversation.
House Democrats announced in September that they would be moving forward with an impeachment inquiry after a whistleblower’s testimony accused Trump of asking Zelensky to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden for using his position as vice president to remove a Ukrainian prosecutor who was looking into his son’s business dealings.
The reports were not confirmed at the time of the announcement, and it was not until a day later that the White House released a transcript of Trump’s exchange with Zelensky. After the transcript was made public, many have argued that it fails to show the direct quid pro quo agreement initially alleged.
“Both President Trump and President Zelensky said no conditions, no pressure, no pushing, no quid pro quo [to receive foreign aid]. We’ve got the transcript that shows that,” Jordan said. “We know the Ukrainians did not know at the time of the call that aid had been withheld, and tell me what action President Zelensky or the Ukrainians took to get the aid turned back on.”
“Did he do a press conference? Did he issue a statement? Did he say he was going to investigate and do certain things?” he continued. “None of that happened.”
The Ohio congressman later summed up his argument in a tweet, laying out the aforementioned “four facts.”
-President Trump and President Zelensky both say there was no pressure
-The transcript shows no conditionality
-Ukraine didn’t know aid was held back at time of the call
-Ukraine never took any of the actions they were supposedly being pressured to take
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) October 29, 2019
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who is leading the impeachment charge, has been making the rounds on news programs and press conferences discussing private information that has leaked from witnesses’ closed door depositions. While the source of the leaks has not been confirmed, many lawmakers have been pointing at Schiff himself.
Regardless, Jordan contended that none of the leaked testimony changes the fundamental argument that Republicans are putting forth.
“Those four facts have never changed even though you’ve got all this stuff that Adam Schiff wants to talk about, leak from these depositions, that’s all it is,” Jordan said. “None of the basic things have ever changed.”
House Republicans, however, have been sounding the alarm over how secretly Democrats have been conducting the impeachment process against the president. Not only have hearings been largely private, but even members of Congress have not been able to gain access to transcripts of witness testimony. The full House has still not held a formal vote on impeachment, leaving an actual impeachment inquiry open-ended.