'The global version of Watergate': Democrats confident in impeachment case after open hearings

"There's not a Democrat who watched the last two weeks and said, 'Gosh, this is a weaker case than I thought it was,'" said Rep. Jim Himes.
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By Allan Smith

Democrats on Sunday said that the two weeks of open hearings in the House impeachment inquiry bolstered the case against President Donald Trump and that "every single day provides new and incriminating evidence."

Speaking with ABC's "This Week," Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said the president's conduct amounts to "the global version of Watergate where a president is trying to get dirt on a political opponent from a world leader."

"That is basically what happened here," the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate said, calling Trump's actions "impeachable."

On CBS's "Face the Nation," Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., said he doesn't believe "any Democrat in the Congress looked at what happened over the last two weeks and said, 'Gosh, there's nothing there.'

"Much to the contrary," Himes, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said. "Like the American public that was paying attention, my colleagues saw an ambassador fired for corrupt purposes, saw aid being held up ... So, no, there's not a Democrat who watched the last two weeks and said, 'Gosh, this is a weaker case than I thought it was.'"

The Democrats spoke following a series of public testimonies from current and former Trump officials detailing the administration's efforts toward Ukraine this year. In one of the most crucial moments of the week, E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland testified that there was a coordinated "quid pro quo" effort and that "everyone was in the loop."

Sondland also linked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence to the pressure campaign, though both officials denied Sondland's claims.

Asked if this phase of the impeachment probe is wrapped up, Himes said, "Every single day provides new and incriminating evidence."

"So it's a little hard to tell you that this thing is done," he said. "Look, the thing we need before we get into talking to Pompeo or [Trump's personal lawyer Rudy] Giuliani or anybody else. We need the emails and the paperwork that we have subpoenaed from the State Department and from the White House so we can look at what people actually said to each other. That's the critical thing here."

On "Fox News Sunday," Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., said there was an "urgency" to move the impeachment proceedings along and not wait for courts to rule on other potential witnesses.

"We have powerful evidence already," he said.

Rep. Jim Himes, D-CT, asks questions during an impeachment inquiry hearing on Capitol Hill on Nov. 21, 2019.Matt McClain / Pool via Getty Images

On NBC's "Meet the Press," House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said that the open hearings produced "overwhelming evidence" against Trump and that it's "urgent" for the House to move forward.

“We’ve already accumulated quite overwhelming evidence that the president, once again, sought foreign interference in an election — conditioned official acts of a White House meeting that Ukraine desperately wanted as well as $400 million of bipartisan taxpayer funding — to get these political investigations that he thought would help his re-election,” Schiff said.

He added, “We view this as urgent, we have another election where the president is threatening more foreign interference. But at the same time, there are still other witnesses, other documents that we’d like to obtain. But we are not willing to go the months and months and months of rope-a-dope in the courts, which the administration would love to do.”

On NBC's "Meet the Press," House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said that the open hearings produced "overwhelming evidence" against Trump and that it's "urgent" for the House to move forward.

“We’ve already accumulated quite overwhelming evidence that the president, once again, sought foreign interference in an election — conditioned official acts of a White House meeting that Ukraine desperately wanted as well as $400 million of bipartisan taxpayer funding — to get these political investigations that he thought would help his re-election,” Schiff said.

He added, “We view this as urgent, we have another election where the president is threatening more foreign interference. But at the same time, there are still other witnesses, other documents that we’d like to obtain. But we are not willing to go the months and months and months of rope-a-dope in the courts, which the administration would love to do.”