Amodei Statement on Legislation to Impeach President Donald J. Trump

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Mark Amodei (NV-02) released the following statement today ahead of the House’s scheduled vote on H. Res. 755, legislation to impeach the President of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors:

“At the beginning of the Ukraine Whistleblower issue, I indicated I would review the allegations and compare them with the facts and the applicable law, rules, and historical precedents. I have done that. 

“We have two Articles of Impeachment: Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress. 
“The question when considering the present impeachment vote is: Was the relevant conduct a high crime or misdemeanor?
“A misdemeanor is not a civil offense. The reference in the Constitution to high ‘crimes’ is self-explanatory. Why these words are noteworthy is because the factual proof-standard in criminal matters is: beyond a reasonable doubt.
“Accordingly, with respect to the first Article of Impeachment, does proof beyond a reasonable doubt exist in the reports of the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees? To be clear, the Constitution uses the word ‘conviction’, which is a criminal phrase not a civil litigation term.
“The majority alleges their allegation is a factual one: That in a July 25, 2019 phone call, in exchange for foreign aid and a presidential meeting, the President solicited the interference of Ukraine in the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. Specifically, that he wanted a public announcement of Ukrainian investigations into Joseph and Hunter Biden, regarding past official and personal actions, and that such an investigation be conducted. 
“Documentary evidence includes the actual transcript of the Trump-Zelenskyy July 25 phone call. Neither side has questioned the authenticity or accuracy of the document, so as evidentiary value as to who said what during the subject phone conversation, the transcript is uncontroverted.  
“The transcript indicates the President said: ‘Whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great… So, if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.’
“There is testimonial evidence by civil service individuals, indicating their speculation on the motives behind the above-cited presidential statements. No corroborative evidence was presented for that testimony, except for personal opinions. There was also testimonial opinion evidence which contradicted the quid pro quo or bribery/corruption opinion testimony of the civil service witnesses.
“It is also worth noting at this point, that the House’s role in an impeachment action is similar to the function of a criminal grand jury. Evidence of an alleged crime is presented to members of a grand jury, and they vote yes or no on issuing an indictment. The point here is, the Members of the House are essentially grand jurors. The decision by the majority to prevent Members from observing the opinion testimony of a number of the civil service opinion witnesses prevented the vast majority of Members from having the opportunity to judge for themselves the credibility of the individual opinion witnesses. That is likely a fundamental mistake when your case rests on witness opinions and you are attempting to satisfy, at trial, a proof beyond a reasonable doubt standard. 
“Nevertheless, we have the transcript, civil service witness competing opinions, and finally, what actually did and did not happen after this phone call. What happened after the phone call is also essentially uncontested. Ukrainian aid was slowed for several weeks but provided by mid-September. There was a meeting between President Trump and President Zelenskyy. There is no evidence that the Ukrainian Government has investigated the Bidens and therefore, no announcements regarding the same. 
“Accordingly, when considering the phone call language of ‘whatever you can do’, and ‘if you can look into it’, coupled with the conflicting civil service witnesses’ opinion testimonies, the uncontested facts that foreign aid was disbursed, that the Presidents met, and that there was no Ukrainian investigation into the Bidens, and therefore, no announcement regarding the same, I can’t identify where any proof-standard of a crime being committed by the President has been achieved regarding an alleged quid pro quo/bribery and corruption scenario.
“Add to all this the label of ‘political opponents’ being targeted by the phone call requests. The fact allegation rests on the apparent belief that by allegedly targeting the Bidens, President Trump knew in July of 2019 who the 2020 Democratic Presidential nominee was going to be. Wow! 
“Proof? Proof by a preponderance? Proof beyond a reasonable doubt? I acknowledge that politics are important, however, our nation’s institutional integrity and our fundamental touchstones, have a value that should overcome political fanaticism and lust for power. 
“On Article One, I will vote nay. 
“Regarding the Obstruction of Congress Article of Impeachment, I served on the Judiciary Committee for three years when Lamar Smith was the Chairman. The Republicans were in the majority in the House, Harry Reid was the Senate Majority Leader, and Barack Obama was the President of the United States. 
“Following, is a partial list of the highlights, or lowlights, of Administration vs. the House Judiciary Committee regarding the production of documents and witnesses: 
  • Eric Holder refusing to provide subpoenaed Fast & Furious documents;
  • Lois Lerner refusing to testify on IRS targeting;
  • Ben Rhodes not being allowed to testify on the Iran Nuclear Deal;
  • Treasury officials blocked from testifying on Obamacare subsidies;
  • White House refusing to allow political director, David Simas, to testify;
  • Justice Kagan's Obamacare conflict of interest;
  • Refusing to provide subpoenaed Solyndra documents;
  • Refusing to let the White House social secretary testify on the party crashers scandal; and
  • Fighting subpoenas in the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation investigation. 
“Add to this list, another interesting chapter. In 2016, the House Select Committee on Benghazi, led by former Rep. Trey Gowdy, sent a letter containing more than a dozen questions to President Obama regarding the attack in Benghazi. President Obama refused to answer the questions, and instead, White House counsel responded, ‘If the President were to answer your questions, his response would suggest that Congress has the unilateral power to demand answers from the President about his official acts.’
“I believe the House held Eric Holder in contempt and sued the Department of Justice. Clearly, there has always been friction between the Legislative and Executive Branches. 
“I didn’t believe Barack Obama should have been impeached for the above then – and I don’t think President Trump should be impeached for Article Two now. 
“I will vote nay.” 
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    repName Congressman Mark Amodei  
    helpWithFedAgencyAddress 332 Cannon House Office Building
    Washington, DC 20515
    district 2nd District of Nevada  
    academyUSCitizenDate July 1, 2016  
    academyAgeDate July 1, 2016  
    academyApplicationDueDate October 20, 2016  
    repStateABBR NV  
    repDistrict 2  
    repState Nevada  
    repDistrictText 2nd  
    SponsoredBills Sponsored Bills  
    CoSponsoredBills Co-Sponsored Bills