House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) indicated over the weekend that the Democrats’ impeachment efforts are not contingent upon evidence of a Ukraine-linked quid pro quo offer.
When asked if he has seen evidence of a quid pro quo in the course of the impeachment investigation so far, Schiff said during Sunday’s broadcast of CBS News Face the Nation:
First of all, there doesn’t need to be a quid pro quo, but it is clear already I think from the text messages that this meeting [with Trump] that the Ukraine president sought was being conditioned on their willingness to interfere in the U.S. election to help the president [by investigating Joe Biden and his son, Hunter].
That is a terrible abuse of the president’s power. Now whether that abuse goes further, that is the withholding of military aid also as leverage. There’s certainly strong indications that that is true as well. And we’re going to get to the bottom of it.
The alleged quid pro quo is at the center of the Democrats’ impeachment probe — pursued by the House Committees on Oversight and Reform, Intelligence, and Foreign Affairs.
An intelligence community “whistleblower” accused Trump of trying to coerce Ukraine into investigating corruption allegations against Biden and his son in exchange for aid. The accusation of a quid pro quo, allegedly offered during a July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, ultimately triggered the impeachment probe.
Trump and Zelensky have denied the accusations.
Republican lawmakers have accused Schiff of cherry-picking and misrepresenting evidence gathered so far to fuel his impeachment agenda.
Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Mark Meadows (R-NC), and Lee Zeldin (R-NY), who have witnessed the depositions provided so far, leveled the accusations against Schiff.
Rep. Zeldin has said the testimony provided by former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker obliterates the Democrats’ claim of a quid pro quo offer.
Schiff, however, has refused to release the transcript of Volker’s testimony to the public. Instead, the chairman has released bits and pieces of the evidence Volker provided.
In a series of texts provided by Volker, Gordon Sondland, the United States Ambassador to the European Union, also said, “no quid pro quo of any kind” took place between Trump and Zelensky.
On Monday, Jordan and Zeldin, who have defended Trump during the ongoing impeachment probe, called on Schiff to release the transcripts of all the impeachment inquiry testimonies provided so far.
On Face the Nation, Schiff defended conducting the impeachment inquiry behind closed doors.