Rep. Devin Nunes, the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, continued his full-throated defense of President Donald Trump on Thursday.
The Tulare Republican spoke during the debate before Democrats powered through the ground rules for their impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump on a 232-196 vote.
“It’s clear that since the Democrats took control of the House of Representatives, they have always intended to transform the Intelligence Committee into the Impeachment Committee,” Nunes said.
“Every one of their actions — from the staff they hire to the Trump conspiracy theories they investigate (to) their willful negligence of our basic oversight duties — demonstrates this has been their plan from Day One.
“Now this is further confirmed by the adoption of these rules which simply gives the House approval for the Intelligence Committee Democrats to continue furthering their bizarre obsession with overturning the results of the last presidential election.”
Nunes also criticized the media, saying it is providing “unconditional cooperation” to Democrats to advance a “preposterous narrative.”
The congressman capped his remarks by saying, “After today, the House Intelligence Committee ceases to exist. Oversight is not being done and we now have a full-fledged Impeachment Committee in the basement of the Capitol. Think about that, America.”
Watch: Nunes’ Full Remarks on House Floor
Costa: Evidence Against Trump Is Growing
Just two Democrats joined the Republicans in opposing H.R. 660: freshman Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey and 15-term veteran Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota. Both represent GOP-leaning districts.
“The evidence gathered so far by the impeachment inquiry grows more alarming by the day.” — Rep. Jim Costa
Rep. Jim Costa, a Fresno Democrat, said in a statement following the vote that “the evidence gathered so far by the impeachment inquiry grows more alarming by the day. We cannot turn a blind eye to abuse of power.”
Costa, who is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, added: “I am working every day to determine if the president attempted to undermine our democracy. We must follow the facts where they lead. This resolution sets forth the investigative framework to do just that.”
The Road Forward
The investigation is focused on Trump’s efforts to push Ukraine to investigate his Democratic political opponents by withholding military aid and an Oval Office meeting craved by the country’s new president.
Democrats said the procedures — which give them the ability to curb the president’s lawyers from calling witnesses — are similar to rules used during the impeachment proceedings of Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. Republicans complained they were skewed against Trump.
It is likely to take weeks or more before the House decides whether to vote on actually impeaching Trump. If the House does vote for impeachment, the Senate would hold a trial to decide whether to remove the president from office.
Republicans said they’d use the vote to target freshman Democrats and those from districts Trump carried in 2016. They said they would contrast those Democrats’ support for the rules with campaign promises to focus on issues voters want to address, not on impeaching Trump.
Speaker Pelosi: “I’m going to answer it one time. These rules are fairer than anything that have gone before in terms of an impeachment proceeding.”
Via ABC pic.twitter.com/BncLodvpc0
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 31, 2019
(Associated Press contributed to this report.)