As the debate wound down, House Republicans spoke out one by one against Trump’s impeachment while Democrats reserved their time.
Some Republicans, such as Rep. Ralph Abraham (La.), argued that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), not Trump, is the one who has committed an abuse of power. Others contended that Democrats are acting out of fear that Trump will win reelection in 2020.
But few were willing to engage with any of the allegations facing Trump, as House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) later pointed out.
“I’ve heard several of my colleagues in a row now, and it’s interesting to see how very few of them want to address any of the facts of the president’s misconduct,” Schiff said.
His remarks prompted retorts from some House Republicans in the chamber. Schiff responded: “Apparently, Madam Speaker, I’ve struck a nerve.”
“They don’t want to defend that conduct,” he continued. “So instead, they say, ‘Oh, Democrats really want to impeach the president,’ or, ‘Democrats don’t like the president.’ But what they can’t say is that this president’s conduct was ethical. What they can’t say was that this president’s conduct was legal. What they can’t say was this president’s conduct was constitutional.”
Rep. Douglas A. Collins (Ga.), the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, offered a quick rejoinder.
“I’m sure it did strike a chord with the chairman since he showed up a little late and hadn’t heard all the arguments,” Collins said. “We’ve beat the facts back all the time.”