Nov 6, 2019

Comey: Impeachment will test the meaning of the oath of office

Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Politicon

Former FBI Director James Comey suggested in a Washington Post op-ed Wednesday that elected officials should uphold their oaths of office by removing President Trump from office.

The big picture: Comey questioned whether members of Congress would be upholding their oaths if they do not take action against Trump for allegedly withholding military aid to Ukraine to pressure its government to investigate his political rivals. Comey specifically singled out Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who voted to impeach former President Bill Clinton but has said Trump's actions don't warrant impeachment.

Key excerpts:

  • "If Congress passes a law giving a vulnerable ally hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid desperately needed to fend off a relentless Russia, and the president of the United States uses that money to coerce the desperate ally to provide electoral dirt on his likely opponent, is the president faithfully executing his office? And if the president conditions White House meetings on acquiring the same foreign dirt to help him get reelected? The answers are obvious."
  • "But oaths are sticky things. If, after all the table-banging, the facts show a president, in exercising the core of his powers under the Constitution — the conduct of foreign affairs and the national defense — failed to faithfully execute his office, what then? If the president used the power and money of the United States to coerce a foreign nation into helping him get reelected, what of the promise senators and representatives made?"
  • "If oaths and promises, the bedrock of the rule of law, are to mean anything, the senator [Rob Portman] and his colleagues will need to explain how they square their solemn promises with Trump’s actions."

Go deeper: Jeff Daniels to star in CBS adaptation of James Comey's memoir

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Read Adam Schiff's opening statement in the first impeachment hearing

Adam Schiff. Photo: Saul Loeb - Pool/Getty Images

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) gave a lengthy statement to open the House impeachment inquiry's first public hearing.

Why it matters: The speech gives insight into the case that Democrats plan to make for Trump's impeachment. And while the inquiry is still technically in its investigation stage, Schiff stated: "The facts in the present inquiry are not seriously contested."

Go deeperArrowNov 13, 2019

Nadler: "We cannot wait for the election to address the present crisis"

Photo: Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images

In his opening statement of the House Judiciary Committee's first impeachment hearing on Wednesday, Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) warned that President Trump has "welcomed foreign interference" in two elections and has engaged in "unprecedented" obstruction.

Between the lines: So far, the impeachment inquiry has been tightly focused on Trump's dealings with Ukraine. Nadler made clear in his opening statement that the Judiciary Committee is broadening its scope to include the findings from special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, specifically instances of potential obstruction of justice.

Go deeperArrowDec 4, 2019

Read Adam Schiff's opening statement in the Vindman-Williams impeachment hearing

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) set the stage with his opening statement in the House impeachment inquiry's public hearing featuring Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council's top Ukraine expert, and Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Pence.

The big picture: Schiff focused on Vindman's and Williams' firsthand knowledge of many of the events at the heart of the impeachment inquiry — specifically the fact that they both listened in on the July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Go deeperArrowNov 19, 2019