Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday that Democrats have to move forward with an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump and his actions regarding Ukraine in order to unify the party.
That perspective from the freshman congresswoman fits with a criticism from the president’s allies that the impeachment effort is more about weakening Trump and the Republican Party leading up to 2020 elections than it is about alleged abuse of power.
“At the end of the day, we have to be able to come together as a caucus and if it is this Ukrainian allegation that is what brings the caucus together, then I think we have to run with however we unify the House,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “We also need to move quite quickly because we’re talking about the potential compromise of the 2020 elections. And so this is not just about something that has occurred—this is about preventing a potentially disastrous outcome from occurring next year.”
House Democrats took the impeachment inquiry public Wednesday with testimony from two Ukraine diplomats: Deputy Secretary of State George Kent and Ambassador William Taylor before the House Intelligence Committee.
The public hearing yielded almost no new information; witnesses scheduled to testify publicly have already had closed-door depositions and those transcripts are gradually being released. Democrats are hoping the public hearings will allow them to present the narrative of President Trump’s alleged corruption in a way that is persuasive to voters.
Democrats are alleging that President Trump withheld promised security aid to Ukraine in order to pressure Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky to open public investigations into potential 2016 election interference and alleged corruption by former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
Republicans used much of their time Wednesday emphasizing the fact that the security aid was released to Ukraine even though no investigations were opened, and that Zelensky has expressed no concern about his exchanges with President Trump. They also pointed out that neither Taylor nor Kent had firsthand knowledge of the situation.
The next hearing is scheduled to begin Friday morning with testimony from former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
(H/T: The Daily Wire)