Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX), on the last day of the public impeachment inquiry hearings, indicated he is no closer to supporting impeachment than before.
Hurd, a moderate Republican who is retiring from Congress, has not shied away from criticizing President Trump in the past — giving hope to the left that he would break with his colleagues to support impeachment.
However, he used his entire five minutes of questioning during the last hearing on Thursday to make a statement, rejecting the idea that there has been any evidence the president committed impeachable offenses.
“Throughout this process I have said I want to learn the facts so that we can get to the truth,” he began.
He said he believed the statements Trump made on the July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky were “inappropriate.” He also criticized the foreign policy that was being undertaken, saying that “uncoordinated, confusing, and conflicting messages” created uncertainty and doubt in Kiev at a time when a new reformist administration had taken office.
However, he slammed Democrats’ assertion that without U.S. assistance, Ukraine would not be able to function.
“Ukraine…is in a hot war with Russia and they are holding their own.We could benefit from the experience of the Ukrainians, not the other way around,” he said.
Then he slammed the impeachment inquiry.
“While I thought the intelligence committee would actually be engaged in oversight of the intelligence and national security communities, unfortunately we are not,” he said, continuing:
Over the past weeks, we have a few things. The officials on the July 25 call have many different opinions on whether the call was concerning or not, and just because Vice President Biden is running for president does not mean that corruption related to Burisma — Ukraine’s largest natural gas company — and Americans’ ties to it are not concerning.
There’s also a lot we don’t know. We have not heard from Rudy Giuliani, we haven’t heard from Hunter Biden. I’d like to know more about both of their activities. Why they talked to whom, and to whom.
Despite promises from Chairman Schiff, we have also not heard from the whistleblower — something that can occur in a closed setting without violating his or her anonymity. We need to understand the motivations and levels of coordination that happened prior to his or her complaint.
He also noted that U.S. support for Ukraine was actually strengthened under the Trump administration and Ukraine is receiving all the assistance it needs, and Ukraine is undertaking important corruption reform. He said:
The past few days and even today it’s been reiterated in 2017 the Trump administration made the decision to provide lethal defensive aid to Ukraine after the Obama administration refused to do so. Ukraine is receiving all the security assistance as directed by Congress, President Zelensky has undertaken significant anti-corruption efforts, including eliminating the parliamentary immunity from prosecution…Under President Zelensky’s leadership, we have finally seen some progress at ending the Russian occupation of Ukraine.
He said in conclusion:
“So where does this leave us? An impeachable offense should be compelling, overwhelmingly clear, and unambiguous, and it’s not something to be rushed or taken lightly. I’ve not heard evidence proving the president committed bribery or extortion,” he said.
Susan Hennessey, executive editor of Lawfare and CNN national security analyst, criticized Hurd for his stance:
“The unfortunate reality is that people like Will Hurd looking at the evidence presented and deciding it doesn’t support impeachment says more about Will Hurd than it does about the available evidence,” she tweeted.
The unfortunate reality is that people like Will Hurd looking at the evidence presented and deciding it doesn’t support impeachment says more about Will Hurd than it does about the available evidence.
— Susan Hennessey (@Susan_Hennessey) November 22, 2019
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