Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today spoke on the Senate floor, calling on Republicans to examine the facts in the House impeachment inquiry and not pre-judge the results of the impeachment inquiry. Senator Schumer also spoke on the need for Senate Republicans to join Senate Democrats to pass a resolution offered by Senator Hirono (D-HI) recognizing the duty of Congress and the Executive Branch to protect all whistleblowers. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
The House of Representatives continues to interview key witnesses as part of its impeachment inquiry. Each witness has reportedly added details and context to the central focus of the inquiry: that the president allegedly pressured a foreign leader to interfere in domestic politics, and used the power of his office for personal, political gain.
The House must follow the facts where they lead and continue the investigation until all the facts come out. When and if there is a potential trial here in the Senate, it will be our job to impartially look at all the evidence and come to our own independent judgment. I remind my colleagues of this fact because, in recent days, a few of my colleagues seem to be jumping to conclusions.
We all know about our colleagues in the House Republican caucus, who have made a show of storming classified hearings even though many of them could participate in those hearings; who have shifted their defenses of the president on a near-daily basis; who, only weeks ago, made the idea of “no quid pro quo” the lynchpin of their argument in support of the president, but now admit that the president might have engaged in a quid pro quo but there’s nothing wrong with that. In the House, the shifting sands of argument to embrace—to almost kneel at the feet of—the president is appalling. They contradict themselves. They turn themselves into pretzels. All before all the facts come out because they just blindly want to say the president is right. That’s not, that is not, how the Constitution asked us to conduct ourselves. In the Senate, we’re beginning to get that germ of coming to conclusions before we hear all the facts, before the trial occurs. That germ is spreading, that nasty germ.
Senior members said yesterday that they’ll refused to read any transcripts from the House investigation because they have “written the whole process off, [as] a bunch of B.S.” Using the taxpayer dollars, much needed foreign aid and an important part of our foreign policy tool to gain an advantage on a political rival—if that’s true, that is B.S.? Our Senate Judiciary chairman knows better, but his blind loyalty, his abject following of whatever President Trump wants, it seems, makes him say things like that. And yesterday, Leader McConnell stepped over the line, in my judgement, when he said that if an impeachment vote were held today, the president would be acquitted.
Instead of speculating about the hypothetical trial or writing off the entire process before it has even concluded, how about we all wait for the facts come out? That’s our job. And facts can be stubborn things. Just yesterday, we learned that a key figure provided supplementary testimony that he told a top Ukrainian official that U.S. military assistance was conditioned on an announcement by Ukraine that it was opening the investigations President Trump requested.
So instead of leaping to the president’s defense to declare “no quid pro quo,” as many House Republicans did, claim now contradicted by several witnesses, everyone should wait for the facts to come out. Fairness demands that of us.
Before I move on to another topic, there’s another troubling development in this area: efforts by the White House and a member of this chamber to disclose the identity of the whistleblower. Let me repeat that: the White House and even a member of this chamber are openly advocating that federal whistleblower protections be violated, that laws be broken, and that the health and safety of the whistleblower and their family put at risk. Shame. Shame. Just outrageous.
We are in an extraordinary moment of history when Republicans, over only a few weeks, have shifted from saying no laws were broken to saying laws were broken, but it’s not impeachable, to outright advocating that laws be broken. This is wrong. This is against democracy. This is against the grain of this country that we’ve been so proud of for two-hundred some-odd years. Whistleblowers who stand up for the Constitution should not be targeted by the president or powerful members of the legislative branch, for sure. And even if you don’t agree with that, you have to agree that if it’s the law you shouldn’t break it. We’re a nation of laws! President Trump should hear that. So should the junior Senator from Kentucky. Please!
Now, on a good note, I was pleased to hear that several of my Republican colleagues stood up yesterday and did the right thing—they defended the whistleblower’s legal protections, including a member of the Republican Senate leadership. Later today, I hope these Senators and indeed all Senators join Democrats in approving a resolution offered by my colleague, Sen. Hirono, that supports whistleblower protections. Sen. Hirono will be asking unanimous consent to pass it—and we should. For the sake of the safety of this whistleblower, whether you like what he or she did or you don’t, for the sake of rule of law, for the sake of what balance of power is all about.