WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump went public for the first time on Wednesday.
House Democrats say the president abused his power by pressuring Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Joe Biden, in exchange for military aid.
At the hearing in Congress, Democrat Adam Schiff asked, “If this is not impeachable conduct, what is?”
But Republicans countered by saying the hearing was just a show.
“What we will witness today is a televised theatrical performance staged by the Democrats ,” Devin Nunes said.
All eyes were on Bill Taylor, a top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent.
Taylor told lawmakers that he expressed concerns about a potential quid pro quo.
“I also said I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign,” he said.
Republicans on the committee argued that Ukraine was not pressured, because Ukrainian leaders did not know about the hold on U.S. aid.
John Ratcliffe asked Taylor, “Where is the impeachable offense in that call? Are either of you here today to assert there was an impeachable offense in that call? Shout it out. Anyone?”
“Mr Ratcliffe I would just like to say that I am not here to have anything to do with to decide about impeachment. That is not what either of us are here to do. That is your job,” Taylor replied.
President Trump says he did nothing wrong, describing the hearing as a “witch hunt” and a “hoax.”
The hearings continue on Friday with former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch.