Shared from the 12/10/2019 The Providence Journal eEdition

Cicilline weighs in at Trump hearing



The comments of a Florida Republican offered U.S. Rep. David N. Cicilline another entry point into historic proceedings on the conduct of President Donald Trump late Monday afternoon.

U.S. Rep. Matt L. Gaetz II argued that Americans are "thriving" and "doing better than ever before" under President Trump. He also suggested that, for some Americans, the opioid problem is more "urgent" matter than impeaching the president. And dealing with the challenges of climate change, and a budget "that's out of control," are "likely more urgent," he told the House Judiciary Committee.

"But House Democrats have failed at all of these things," Gaetz said. "Matter of fact, I'd say the only thing under the Christmas tree for most Americans would be a lump of coal, but I think they're against coal, too. The only thing under the Christmas tree for Americans would be impeachment and investigations."

Responding, Cicilline, speaking at rapid pace, said Congress has "passed nearly 400 pieces of legislation," including 275 pieces of bipartisan legislation, "that respond to the urgent priorities of the American people, driving down healthcare costs, raising wages for the American worker, responding to gun violence, providing equal pay for equal work, responding to the climate crisis."

“But we were also elected to hold this president accountable,” Cicilline said.

In response to questions from Cicilline, the lead counsel for the majority Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee, Daniel S. Goldman, testified that witnesses had told the House Intelligence Committee that military aid to Ukraine was necessary to counter a Russian offensive, the first military incursion in Europe since World War II. And preserving democracy worldwide is essential to the national security of both Ukraine and the United States, he said.

Goldman also told Cicilline that Congress approved the aid before President Trump’s July 25 call with the Ukrainian president; the president withheld the aid; the U.S. Department of Defense publicly announced its intention to deliver the aid; and the administration had certified Ukraine’s substantial steps to combat corruption.

Next, at Cicilline’s request, the Committee heard clips of testimony from various members of the government, including acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, William B. Taylor Jr.

Taylor shared observations he had made during a visit to the Northern Donbass — where Ukrainian defenders are in combat with Russian troops and where a Ukrainian military commander had thanked him for U.S. military aid.

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