WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., slammed impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump on Wednesday, Dec. 4, at the House Judiciary Committee's first hearing on the matter.
House Democrats argued at the hearing that Trump committed an impeachable offense by engaging in a "quid pro quo" during a July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
They allege Trump intentionally withheld U.S. military aid from Ukraine to coax Zelensky into investigating a political rival. During the call in question, Trump suggested that Ukraine should investigate former Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter and his involvement as a board member of Burisma, a gas company in the eastern European nation.
Armstrong, one of the newest members of the 41-seat committee, spoke near the end of the all-day hearing held on Capitol Hill in Washington. North Dakota's lone U.S. representative said a transcript of the call clearly disproves Democratic claims of corruption.
"(Trump and Zelensky) never mention the 2020 election. They never mention military aid," Armstrong said. "It does, however, clearly show that the favor the president requested was assistance to the ongoing investigation into the 2016 election. ... Like so many other things, these facts are inconvenient for Democrats, (and) they don't fit the impeachment narrative, so they're misrepresented or ignored."
Armstrong, a criminal defense lawyer by trade, said it was outrageous that the hearing had been going on for more than seven hours before the committee had spoken about the alleged victim, Zelensky. Armstrong said the fact that the Ukrainian leader has denied a "quid pro quo" ever took place should put to rest any accusations of corruption made against Trump.
"We have the alleged victim of quid pro quo, bribery, extortion — whatever we’re dealing with now today —repeatedly and adamantly shouting from the rooftops that he never felt pressure, that he was not the victim of anything," Armstrong said.
The House, which has a Democratic majority, is expected to vote on articles of impeachment by the end of the year, according to The Washington Post. The Senate, which has a Republican majority, could begin its trial as early as January if Trump is impeached.