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'Evidence is clear': Pelosi says hearings show Trump used office for personal gain

The speaker's remarks came on the third day of public testimony this week in the House's impeachment inquiry.
"The evidence is clear that the president has used his office for his own personal gain," Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday at her weekly news conference. Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Thursday after three days of impeachment hearings this week that the "evidence is clear" that President Donald Trump has used his office "for his own personal gain."

Pelosi told reporters that lawmakers had "no choice" but to act after they observed what she called a violation of the Constitution by the president.

"The evidence is clear that the president has used his office for his own personal gain and in doing so undermined the national security of the United States by withholding military assistance to the Ukraine, to the benefit of the Russians," Pelosi said.

Her comments came amid a brief recess for the impeachment hearing that featured witness testimony from Fiona Hill, a former Russia adviser on the National Security Council, and David Holmes, political counselor at the U.S. embassy in Ukraine.

Asked if she has heard enough evidence from witnesses so far to determine whether the House will pursue articles of impeachment against the president, Pelosi said, "We haven’t made any decisions yet."

The speaker added that any decision to move forward will be made by the relevant House committees. While the Intelligence Committee has conducted the public impeachment hearings, the Judiciary Committee would be the committee to draft and vote on articles of impeachment before they go to the House floor for a vote.

Pelosi said she's told Trump that if he has any evidence that is "exculpatory," he should bring it forward to Congress because she said "the facts are uncontested" at this time.

Before the end of the press conference, she was asked whether she’d like to hear testimony from any other officials, such as acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney or Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Pelosi said the House has tried to seek information from them but they haven't complied, at the direction of the White House.

Impeachment inquiry: Full coverage

Pelosi said efforts to limit Congress' access to key information will be considered an "obstruction of justice" or "obstruction of Congress."

She also defended the whistleblower — whose identity is still unknown — saying, "An attack on the whistleblower is an attack on the integrity of our system."