U.S. Representative Jason Crow, a Democrat from Aurora, invoked his military service on Tuesday, arguing that the White House budget office should be required to turn over the documents involved in the case against President Donald Trump, as the impeachment trial began in the US Senate.
One of the seven House directors pursuing the charges, Crow urged senators to approve a subpoena for Office of Management and Budget documents that he said would help prove Trump had abused his power. and hampered Congress, as the articles of impeachment allege.
“These documents directly relate to one of President Trump’s abuses of power – his decision to deny vital military aid to a warring strategic partner in favor of his re-election campaign,” Crow said.
After detailing his argument that the documents would reveal “exactly how the president implemented the plan to use our national defense funds to benefit his political campaign,” Crow referred to his status as a veteran, hinting to the president who would have withheld aid. to an American ally waging a proxy war with Russia.
“Before I was a member of Congress, I was an American soldier, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said. “And although a few years have passed since that time, there are still memories that are etched in my brain. One of those memories was picking up junk from the streets of Baghdad in 2003 that we had to bolt down. on the sides of our trucks, because we didn’t have armor plating to protect us from roadside bombs. So when we talk about troops not getting the equipment they need when they do. need is personal to me.
Crow later said, “The American people deserve answers. I remember what it feels like not to have the equipment you need when you need it. Real people’s lives are on the line. It’s on the line. is why it matters. We need this information to be able to make sure that it never happens again. Eventually it will all come out. We will have answers to these questions. The question now is whether we will have them in time, and who will be here on the right side of history. “
The Washington Post reported that after sitting for hours giving evidence, more than a dozen senators on both sides of the aisle, including U.S. Democratic Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado, stood up to stretch their legs. or use the restroom while Crow was talking.
At another point in his argument, Crow laid out what he described as Trump’s plan and explained why Democrats were looking for the budget documents.
“To be clear, here we are talking about $ 391 million in taxpayer money, intended to protect our national security by helping our strategic partner Ukraine to fight against the Russia of Vladimir Putin, adversary of the United States”, did he declare.
“But the president couldn’t do this project alone; he needed a lot of people to help him. And that’s why we know as much about it as we do today. But there is much more. namely. And that’s what trials are for – to get the full picture. “
Trump’s legal team argued that House Democrats were trying to present new evidence that should have been released in the investigative months leading up to the approval of the articles of impeachment, despite the House’s refusal Blanche to hand over documents or make witnesses available.
Republican senators, including U.S. Senator from Colorado Cory Gardner, voted against the subpoena Crow had argued for along strict party lines, 53-47. Bennet voted with his party and the independent senators who caucus with the Democrats.
Trump’s trusted ally, Gardner has been keeping his cards close to his waistcoat since Democrats launched the impeachment inquiry in September. He released a statement as the Senate convened for the first day of the trial.
“The impeachment of the President is one of the most serious constitutional actions, and I will closely assess the law and the facts presented to the Senate as I fulfill my constitutional obligations as a United States Senator,” Gardner said. .
“The Senate will move forward with an organizational resolution modeled on the same basic principles as the Clinton impeachment process and establish guidelines for a bipartisan trial allowing both sides to present their case.”
When Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled the proposed impeachment rules on Tuesday morning, Democrats retorted that they “deviate significantly from the Clinton precedent,” established when President Bill Clinton was acquitted by the Senate in 1999.
“Under this resolution, Senator McConnell says he does not want to hear any of the existing evidence and that he does not want to hear any new evidence,” Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement.
Before the trial began on Tuesday afternoon, Crow echoes complaints about the procedure, tweeting that McConnell “was planning to hold an impeachment trial – without witnesses – without evidence – in the middle of the night,” adding, “This is not a fair trial. It’s not a trial at all – it’s a cover-up.
Bowing to pressure from some Republicans, McConnell changed course early in the trial, rejecting a proposed rule that would have kept the trial in session after midnight, according to multiple reports. But the GOP has united in denying the Democrats’ numerous attempts to call witnesses or subpoena documents that the Trump administration withheld.
During the trial, U.S. Representative Adam Schiff, the California Democrat who chairs the House Intelligence Committee and heads the prosecution team, released a video of Trump suggesting more witnesses should testify as part of the investigation.
“Don’t blind yourself to the evidence,” Schiff said. “The facts will come out eventually. The question is, will they come out in time?”
Morgan Carroll, chairman of the Colorado Democratic Party, blasted Gardner, who is running for a second term in November, in a statement Tuesday night.
“Senator Gardner has claimed he will be an impartial juror in this impeachment trial, but in the opening hours of the Senate trial, he voted three times with his fellow Republicans to block key subpoena documents. “said Carroll.
“If President Trump is innocent, why would Gardner and the Republicans block relevant evidence in a fair and impartial trial? Gardner’s vote shows he is more interested in covering up Trump than finding out the truth.”
Earlier today, the Colorado Republican Party rebuffed Crow’s suggestion that the trial would be unfair without the witnesses and evidence sought by House Democrats.
“Jason Crow is now PETRIFIED to defend his own fictitious articles of impeachment,” said the GOP state tweeted, echoing a phrase Republicans have used for months to reject the impeachment effort.
“If your case was so strong, why did you vote for impeachment without the witnesses you are referring to?” Answer: Because Pelosi had to fit impeachment into a political calendar, ”Colorado Republicans said.
The GOP was referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and accusations that she was managing the impeachment schedule to inflict maximum political damage on a president who will almost certainly be acquitted by senators.