On December 5, 2019, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) responded to the statement by Speaker Pelosi that the House Judiciary Committee will proceed with articles of impeachment against Trump.
Pelosi argues that the impeachment hearings gave irrefutable proof of wrongdoing by Trump, and expressed fears that if Trump remains unchecked, he will seek foreign interference in America’s elections once more.
“Our democracy is what’s at stake,” Pelosi said. “The President leaves us no choice but to act because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit.”
The House Speaker warned that the Founding Fathers “feared the prospect of a king-president corrupted by foreign influence.” She noted that James Madison, the architect of the Constitution, warned: “that a president might betray his trust to foreign powers, which might prove fatal to the republic.” Additionally, Gouverneur Morris feared “that a president may be bribed by a greater interest to betray his trust.”
See her remarks from CBS News below:
Pelosi also noted that impeachment is happening because Trump withheld assistance to Ukraine that Congress had voted for, but it isn’t really about Ukraine:
“But this isn’t about Ukraine. This is about Russia. Who benefitted by our withholding that military assistance? Russia. It’s about Russia,” said Pelosi.
In response, McCarthy attempted to dismiss the impeachment, ironically citing Alexander Hamilton, and suggesting impeaching Trump is purely about “partisan animosity.”
“Today is the day that Hamilton warned us,” said McCarthy.
McCarthy claims that Speaker Pelosi’s announcement, and not Donald Trump’s actions, “weakened this nation.” He alleges that the Democrats had a “pre-written timeline” to impeach Trump, ignoring any incriminating facts or warnings discovered in the public hearings.
Following McCarthy’s remarks, the first question he received from reporters brought up a problematic quote from his past. The audio in the Fox News video made the question almost inaudible, but Feinberg tweeted out the clip, which was shared by MSNBC host, Lawrence O’Donnell.
Andrew Feinberg asked:
“In 2016, you said that then-candidate Donald Trump was one of two people who are paid by Vladimir Putin, the other being former Congressman Dana Rohrabacher. Do you still believe that Vladimir Putin pays the President?”
McCarthy responded hotly:
“I didn’t believe it then. It was a joke, and you took it to the extent that it’s not, and that’s really embarrassing that you would even ask that,” said McCarthy.
Best question ever put to Kevin McCarthy who said in 2016 he thinks Putin pays Trump: https://t.co/tlMDaJLEjJ
— Lawrence O'Donnell (@Lawrence) December 5, 2019
However, was McCarthy and then-Speaker Paul Ryan really joking? The comments happened when then-Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman was visiting Capitol Hill in June 2016. He had just met with Ryan and McCarthy and warned them about Russia’s role in meddling with Ukrainian and European politics, and news had just broken that the Russians had hacked the DNC.
“I’ll guarantee you that’s what it is…The Russians hacked the DNC and got the opp research that they had on Trump,” said McCarthy.
After a laugh, McCarthy said, “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.”
The lawmakers in the room laughed, and then McCarthy added, “Swear to God.”
Paul Ryan then interjected to say, “This is an off the record. No leaks, alright? This is how we know we’re a real family here.”
Later, the two men told the Post that the conversation “never happened,” but then the transcript came out, and they said the transcript was false. However, finally, the audio recording came out, and Paul Ryan’s office stated that McCarthy had delivered an “inappropriate joke.”
See the video from the Post below:
In response to his tweet, Feinberg added some humor when one person commented that McCarthy sorts Starburst candies for Trump. The candy reference is from a 2018 article in the Post that McCarthy had one of his staffers’ sort through a pile of the square candy fruit chews to select only Trump’s favorite flavors, cherry, and strawberry.
“The move also underscored McCarthy’s singular role as Trump’s friend and fixer over the past year — a courtship of backslapping and flattery that has led to eye-rolling among Democrats and skeptical Republicans,” stated the Post.
I won’t argue with you on the first part of your tweet, but it’s a widely-accepted fact that red and pink starburst are the best flavors so I can’t fault him for the sorting. https://t.co/b4VK7jTF2T
— Andrew Feinberg (@AndrewFeinberg) December 5, 2019
Of course, the irony of quoting Alexander Hamilton to defend Trump’s ongoing conduct is jaw-dropping, especially as one of Trump’s other “friends and fixers,” Rudy Giuliani, is in Ukraine even now attempting to stir up more disinformation against Trump rival, Joe Biden. As Speaker Pelosi suggests time and again, “All roads lead to Putin,” and it’s no joke, Republicans. It’s time to impeach Donald Trump and quit pretending you haven’t seen all of the signs for years.