Cornyn: This Is the First Time a President Has Been Impeached for a Non-Crime

By Melanie Arter | January 20, 2020 | 12:45pm EST
(Photo by Gary Miller/WireImage)
(Photo by Gary Miller/WireImage)

( - “This is the first time in history where a president has been impeached for a non-crime for events that never occurred,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, adding that “ultimately the investigation never took place” and the Ukrainian aid was delivered.

Trump has been “charged with abuse of power, which is not treason, which is not bribery, which is not a high crime and misdemeanor,” Cornyn said. “So, this is the first time in history where a president has been impeached for a non-crime for events that never occurred. Ultimately, the investigation never took place and ultimately, their aid was delivered.”

The senator said what the president did is something that no one ever dreamed would have risen to the level of impeachment, which is one of the basic problems with the House’s case.

Cornyn said he found it “curious” that the House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler called the case against the president “rock solid.” He suggested the House should withdraw the articles of impeachment if it isn’t prepared to go forward with the evidence they produced during the impeachment inquiry.

“This isn't the Senate's responsibility to make the case. This is the House's responsibility under the Constitution. The Senate's supposed to decide the case sitting as a court of impeachment,” he said.

“So, this is really on the House to make that decision. They can continue to process additional witnesses in the House. They could even vote on additional articles of impeachment, but this to me seems to undermine or indicate that they're getting cold feet or have a lack of confidence in what they've done so far,” Cornyn said.

“But I want to ask you about the legal brief that Democrats did submit. It included a number of things, including documents that have been revealed recently by Lev Parnas, an indicted business associate of Rudy Giuliani. Among them, a letter that says that Rudy Giuliani himself was acting with the approval and knowledge of the president when he was reaching out to the president of Ukraine. Should all of these items be admissible during trial?” host Margaret Brennan asked.

“Well, as you know, Margaret, I was a judge for 13 years in-- in state courts,  and in no court in America would that kind of hearsay be admissible, but having said that, I would be--” Cornyn said.

“It's a letter from Rudy Giuliani,” Brennan said.

“Well, I would be careful before crediting the veracity of somebody who is under indictment in New York, the southern district of New York, and who's trying to get leniency from the prosecutor and who has ties to Russian oligarchs,” Cornyn said. “The Russians have had a lot to do with our elections and disinformation campaigns, and this could be part of that.”

“And you certainly would have knowledge, since you're on Senate Intelligence on that, but given what you're saying are Lev Parnas' ties to Russian oligarchs, which is often shorthand for Russian mafia, doesn't it trouble you that he was working so closely with Rudy Giuliani, who is acting on the president's behalf and saying he was acting on the president's behalf?” Brennan asked.

“Well, there's no question that there have been a series of grifters and other hangers on that have associated themselves with the president's campaign or claimed to have special relationships with the president, but this is not the issue that the Senate's going to be deciding. We'll take the issue of evidence as it comes,” Cornyn said.

“If the impeachment managers want to rest their case on the credibility of somebody who's under indictment in the Southern District of New York with extensive ties to Russian oligarchs and organized crime, as you point out, then that's their choice,” he said.


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