Trump congratulates Boris Johnson, says nations can now 'strike a massive new trade deal'
Schiff says Trump's actions go 'beyond anything Nixon did'
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) used his closing remarks in Thursday's hearing to lay out the case for impeaching President Trump and plead for Republicans to look beyond their party, arguing that the president's actions toward Ukraine go "beyond anything Nixon did."
Schiff argued that Trump's abuse of power was clear and on a more significant scale than the Watergate break-in that eventually led to the impeachment of former President Richard Nixon.
"The difference between then and now is not the difference between Nixon and Trump, it's the difference between that Congress and this one," Schiff said during a lengthy and impassioned speech. "And so we are asking ... where are the people who are willing to go beyond their party to look to their duty?"
Schiff likened Trump's insistence that there was "no quid pro quo" to Nixon's infamous proclamation of "I'm not a crook."
[W]hat we've seen here is far more serious than a third-rate burglary of the Democratic headquarters," Schiff said, invoking Watergate. "What we're talking about here is the withholding of recognition in that White House meeting. The withholding of military aid to an ally at war. That is beyond anything Nixon did."
Democrats have alleged that Trump abused his office by pressuring Ukraine to investigate his domestic political rivals. Republicans have largely decried the process surrounding impeachment, decrying it as a partisan exercise intended solely to remove Trump from office out of hostility.
Schiff in his closing statement sought to knock down the Republican defenses of Trump's conduct one by one by recalling testimony from multiple witnesses.
He argued there was in fact a quid pro quo tying a White House meeting to a request for investigations that Trump wanted, and claimed that extended even to U.S. security assistance for Ukraine.
The chairman addressed GOP assertions that much of the testimony is based on "hearsay" by arguing that multiple witnesses provided direct and credible evidence and that their accounts should not be dismissed just because they weren't in the room with the president.
"There is nothing more dangerous than an unethical president who believes they are above the law. And I would just say to people watching at home and around the world ... we are better than that," Schiff said, emphatically gaveling the hearing to a close.
Hill and Holmes marked the final scheduled witnesses to appear before the committee. Eleven individuals testified publicly over the last nine days, and the panel does not currently have additional witnesses slated for next week.