FACT CHECK // House Managers Need to Provide Direct Answers on Biden-Burisma Corruption
January 30, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) this morning outlined his expectations for the second day of Q&A for House Managers and the White House defense team, saying:
"I hope to hear clear answers from Democrat House Managers. Yesterday, they failed to provide direct answers to our questions on Burisma and Biden corruption because their Articles of Impeachment are a sham."
On Wednesday, Sen. Cruz asked seven questions on the Senate floor, three of which are outlined below:
Question #1: As a matter of law, does it matter if there was a quid pro quo? Is it true that quid pro quos are often used in foreign policy?
Harvard Professor and White House defense team member Alan Dershowitz answered in part:
"The only thing that would make a quid pro quo unlawful is if the quo were, in some way, illegal."
Question #2: If President Obama had evidence that Mitt Romney's son was being paid $1 million a year by a corrupt Russian company and Romney had acted in his official capacity to benefit that company, would Obama have had the authority to ask that that potential corruption be investigated?
House Manager Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) answered in part:
"Would it have been impeachable if Barack Obama had tried to get Medvedev to do an investigation of Mitt Romney whether it was justified or unjustified? The reality is for a president to withhold military aid from an ally or in the hypothetical, to withhold it to benefit an adversary, to target their political opponent is wrong and corrupt. Period. End of story."
Put simply, the Democrats believe that it doesn't matter what evidence of corruption a President may have - they cannot launch an investigation if it's into his or her political rival.
As Sen. Cruz has repeatedly explained, Presidents always have the authority and responsibility to investigate allegations of corruption.
Question #3: An August 26, 2019, letter from the Intelligence Community IG to the Director of National Intelligence discussing the so-called ‘whistleblower' stated that the IG identified 'some indicia of an arguable political bias on the part of the complainant in favor of a rival political candidate.' Multiple media outlets reported that this likely referred to the whistleblower's work with Joe Biden. Did the so-called whistleblower work at any point for or with Joe Biden? If so, did he work for or with Joe Biden on issues involving Ukraine? And did he assist in any material way with the quid pro quo in which then-Vice President Biden has admitted to conditioning loan guarantees to Ukraine on the firing of the prosecutor investigating Burisma?
Rep. Schiff simply refused to answer the question not once, but twice. But it is critical to know whether or not the whistleblower - who started this whole impeachment inquiry - has a conflict of interest.
Several news outlets covered Sen. Cruz's questions. Selected coverage is below:
Axios - Trump impeachment trial recap, day 8: Alan Dershowitz's quid pro quo defense
"Senators got their chance to ask questions Wednesday following the completion of both sides' opening arguments throughout the eighth day of President Trump's Senate impeachment trial. The state of play: The most memorable moment came when Trump lawyer Alan Dershowitz responded to a question from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who asked if it would even matter if there were a quid pro quo. Dershowitz argued that a quid pro quo can only exist in a purely corrupt form if it benefitted the president financially."
Wall Street Journal - Trump Impeachment Trial Offers Hints on Where Senators Stand on Witnesses
"The hypothetical continued when Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Ted Cruz of Texas asked Mr. Schiff: If Mr. Obama had evidence that Mr. Romney's son was being paid $1 million a year by a corrupt Russian company and Mr. Romney had acted to benefit that company, would Mr. Obama then have legal authority to ask for that to be investigated? Mr. Schiff said that hypothetical didn't have a direct correlation and said the U.S. had ways to investigate corruption that didn't involve the president seeking a foreign leader's help."
AP - Trump's Defense Shifts to Not ‘Impeachable' Even If True
"As Chief Justice John Roberts fielded queries, Texas Republican Ted Cruz asked if it mattered whether there was a quid pro quo? Simply, no, declared Dershowitz, who said many politicians equate their reelection with the public good. ‘That's why it's so dangerous to try to psychoanalyze a president,' he said. Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democrat leading the House prosecutors, appeared stunned. ‘All quid pro quos are not the same,' he retorted. Some might be acceptable, some not. ‘And you don't need to be a mind reader to figure out which is which. For one thing, you can ask John Bolton.'"
Fox News - Schiff says Obama would have been impeached if he asked Russia to investigate Mitt Romney
"Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, asked in a hypothetical whether or not Obama would have had the authority to seek an investigation into Romney's son if he had evidence he was earning $1 million a year from a corrupt Russian company and Romney had acted to benefit that company. Republicans have alleged former Vice President Joe Biden used his White House position to help his son, Hunter, while he served on the board of a Ukrainian oil company, but no evidence of wrongdoing has been found. Schiff answered that ‘for a president to withhold military aid from an ally [or] to benefit an adversary to target their political opponent is wrong and corrupt. Period. End of story.'"
Mediaite - Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz Ask Schiff: What If Obama Wanted Romney's Son Investigated for Working for Corrupt Russian Company?
"Graham and Cruz asked, ‘In Mr. Schiff's hypothetical, if President Obama had evidence that Mitt Romney's son was being paid $1 million per year by a corrupt Russian company and Mitt Romney had acted to benefit that company, would Obama have authority to ask that that potential corruption be investigated?'"
RedState - Ted Cruz Puts Schiff on the Spot, Grills Him With Questions About the Whistleblower
"He was at it again on Wednesday, denying categorically that he'd had any contact in any way with the whistleblower and obviously lied saying he didn't know who the whistleblower was. The whistleblower has been reported to be Eric Ciaramella. Schiff has previously been given four Pinocchios for his false claims about contact with the whistleblower by the Washington Post. But Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) wasn't having any of Schiff's game and laid into him with the questions that we have all wanted to ask him about the whistleblower."