Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, told CBS' Margaret Brennan on Sunday that the impeachment inquiry has uncovered evidence of an "extortion scheme" involving President Trump withholding military aid to Ukraine to pressure its government to investigate his political opponents.
"It's important that the president has due process. And evidence is not a conclusion. We have enough evidence from the depositions that we've done to warrant bringing this forward. Evidence of an extortion scheme, using taxpayer dollars to ask a foreign government to investigate the president's opponent. But it's important that these witnesses raise their right hands and take questions from both Republicans and Democrats. The president is going to get that."— Eric Swalwell
Why it matters: The impeachment inquiry is moving into its public phase this week, with three witnesses — top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine Bill Taylor, State Department official George Kent and former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch — expected to testify in open session.
- Democrats believe they already have enough evidence to impeach Trump and sent the case to the Senate for a trial, even without hearing from the White House witnesses who have refused to cooperate with the inquiry.
- Witnesses acknowledge that there appeared to be a quid pro quo involving a White House visit for Ukraine’s president, conditioned on the announcement of investigations into Joe and Hunter Biden and the 2016 election.
- They differ on whether military aid was also used as leverage. But key diplomats intimately involved in discussions with Ukraine, including Taylor and EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland, believe it was.