Kentucky lawmakers weigh in on impeachment as investigation goes public
History unfolds in the Capitol, as the U.S. House takes the next step toward removing the president.
Until Wednesday, testimony had been conducted purely behind closed doors, with even most members of the U.S. House left in the dark. But Wednesday, the eyes of the nation tuned into Washington as two top diplomats testified.
Leading Democrats accuse the president of holding military aid to Ukraine hostage, hoping to trade it for investigations that would politically damage 2020 presidential rival Joe Biden.
Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Kentucky) argues that’s not all the president’s done wrong. "I believe he has committed impeachable offenses almost from the day he took office," he said.
Yarmuth, Kentucky's only Democrat in Congress, said he believes his party will ultimately limit itself to a handful of charges though, to avoid confusing the public, "bribery, abuse of power, obstruction of Congress, and possibly obstruction of justice."
Top American diplomats tell lawmakers they view a July phone call and other conversations, as clear evidence of a quid pro quo – release of the congressionally-approved aid in exchange for specific investigations.
But, President Trump denies any arm-twisting, and House Republicans -- like Rep. James Comer (R-KY), said they don’t see anything impeachable.
"Do you think the president colored completely between the lines on all of this?" we asked of Comer. "He certainly could have chosen his words better," Comer said of the now infamous phone call with the Ukrainian president.
Comer said the GOP ought to be able to call witnesses to make the case that it was the Bidens who had unsavory Ukrainian dealings. Fmr. Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter served on the board of an energy company with a history of corrupt practices.
While the Department of Justice looked into but didn’t pursue such a case involving the Bidens, Comer said the president is right to want it investigated.
Comer, said the inquiry ultimately comes down to Democrats playing politics with impeachment. "I just think Democrats are trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill," he said.
If House Democrats do impeach – the case would go to the Senate for trial.
At this time though, those who want the president out aren’t close to having the votes they would need in the Senate to remove him.
A Senate trial may also directly hurt several of the Democrats running to be the next president. Attendance would be mandatory, and that means Sen. Warren, Sanders, Harris, Booker, and Klobuchar would be severely limited in how much time they could spend on the campaign trail.
We've posted our full interviews with Rep. Yarmuth and Rep. Comer in the video tab above.