Democrats are calling it extortion, while Republicans say it’s a sham impeachment proceeding.
Two weeks of impeachment hearings won’t sway Democrats or Republicans who remain completely divided on impeaching the president.
Democrats said they are ready to vote to impeach the president, regardless of how the hearings turn out or how they influence public polling that currently shows the nation is deeply divided over the issue.
“My constituents wanted him out yesterday,” House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth told the Washington Examiner.
Yarmuth said Democrats have already signaled their desire to impeach the president by voting in favor of an Oct. 31 resolution to sanction the impeachment proceedings.
Only two Democrats voted against the resolution.
“I think our members, in voting for the inquiry, reflected where we are,” Yarmuth said. “I don’t think public polling will change it.”
Democrats have launched two weeks of public hearings featuring witnesses who will testify about Trump’s interactions with Ukraine government officials and the delay of critical security aid.
The president’s fate in the House seems like a foregone conclusion, however.
Democrats, who hold the majority, are on track to vote to impeach Trump in the coming weeks.
Democrats have labeled the president’s actions “extortion.”
Republicans are poised to unanimously oppose it and accuse Democrats of conducting a “sham” and “fantasy” impeachment proceeding.
Republicans weren’t swayed by the public testimony Tuesday featuring Ambassador William Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent, who said they believed Trump was trying to get Ukraine to investigate his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.
The hearing lasted more than six hours and allowed the witnesses to testify about their concerns regarding Trump’s decision to delay security aid to Ukraine.
Republicans, who voted unanimously to oppose opening the impeachment proceeding, said they learned nothing that would make them more likely to vote to impeach Trump.
“The ultimate judge will be the American people,” Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, a staunch Trump defender, told reporters midway through the proceeding. “And I think most of them will see what I’m seeing in that room. It’s reporters and people in the audience who are yawning.”
Meadows said the hearings are “a major setback for the unfounded impeachment fantasy.”
Rep. Devin Nunes of California, the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee, said the hearings are a “spectacle” damaging the country and that Democrats, who have long sought to impeach the president, “are in search of a crime.”
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff insisted to reporters that he hasn’t made up his mind on whether he would support impeaching the president.
“I’m reserving judgment on the ultimate question until the testimony is complete,” he said. “I’m not prejudging it.”
Yet Schiff said the testimony supports the belief by Democrats that the president abused his office for political purposes. Democrats are poised to draft articles of impeachment accusing the president of abuse of power as well as obstruction of Congress.
“The portrait that I think their testimony paints is one of an irregular channel that ran through the president … on down through Rudy Giuliani, where the president sought to advance his personal and political interests at the expense of national security,” Schiff said after the hearing concluded.
“And he did that by pressing this vulnerable ally to get involved in the next election. And did so by conditioning a White House meeting as well as hundreds of millions of dollars needed by this ally.”
Schiff posed the impeachment question as one that would be difficult to vote down, at least for Democrats.
“What I hope members will think about is, what do these facts mean for the future of the country, and are we prepared to say that asking a foreign nation to interfere in our elections is a perk of the office of the presidency?” Schiff said. “I don’t think we can allow that to be the new normal, or acceptable in any way, shape or form.”
Democrats say the evidence already available, including transcripts from weeks of closed-door depositions, is enough to convince them to impeach Trump.
“It is compelling,” said Rep. Adriano Espaillat of New York. “I’ve made up my mind.”
Espaillat is among a group of lawmakers who have sought to impeach Trump since he took office in 2017.
“I’m doing now what I felt then,” he said.
Public polling on impeachment has remained flat and politically polarized.
About 48% of voters support impeaching the president, and most are Democrats.
Most Republicans oppose impeachment.
Some swing-district Democrats who supported opening the impeachment proceedings say they’d like to hear from constituents as the hearings progress.
“Ultimately, at the end of the day, it’s the American people who are the jury,” said Ann Kuster, a Democrat who represents New Hampshire’s 2nd District. “We need to be watching carefully and give them the opportunity to assess the credibility of the witnesses and what they saw and heard. And let them decide.”
Kuster said Democrats will know soon if they should vote to impeach the president.
“They’ll be in touch with us,” Kuster said. “Our phones will be ringing off the hook. And we’ll know where they are on whether this is an abuse of power.”
The post Minds made up: Democrats barrel toward impeachment appeared first on Washington Examiner.