Sen. Cruz on Eve of Historic Vote: The House Managers Have Abused the Constitutional Process by Trying to Use Impeachment to Settle a Partisan Score
Will vote tomorrow to reject Democrats Articles of Impeachment and acquit President Trump, and urges Senators on both sides of the aisle to do the same
February 4, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), chairman of the Subcommittee on The Constitution, today delivered remarks on the Senate floor in advance of the Senate's historic vote tomorrow to reject Democrats' impeachment charges and acquit President Trump.
Watch Sen. Cruz's floor speech in its entirety here. The full text of his remarks is below:
Sen. Cruz: "Madam President, tomorrow afternoon the Senate will vote to acquit President Trump in these impeachment proceedings. That's the right thing to do. That is the decision that comports with both the facts and the law.
"These impeachment proceedings began in the House of Representatives in a thoroughly partisan affair driven by House Democrats without allowing the President to participate in cross-examining witnesses and calling defense witnesses. When the matter came to the Senate, the Senate was obligated to do much better. We had an obligation under the Constitution to conduct a fair trial and that's what the Senate has done.
"Over the course of the last two weeks, we have heard hour upon hour upon hour of argument. The House proceeding heard testimony from 18 different witnesses. The Senate saw 193 video clips of witness testimony presented here on the Senate floor. The Senate posed 180 separate questions from Senators to the House Managers or the White House defense team. And within the record were over 28,000 pages of documents, including the single most important evidence in this case, which is the actual transcript of the conversation at issue between President Trump and the President of Ukraine.
"The Trump administration to the astonishment of everyone declassified that transcript and released it to the world so that we can read precisely what was said in that conversation.
"The reason that acquittal is the right decision is because the House managers failed to prove their case. They failed to demonstrate that they satisfied the constitutional standard of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.'
"The text of the Constitution provides that a President may be impeached ‘for treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.' The House Managers fell woefully short of that standard. Indeed, in the Articles of Impeachment they sent over here, they don't allege any crime whatsoever. They don't even allege a single federal law that the President violated.
"An awful lot of Americans looking at these proceedings have heard a lot of noise, have heard a lot of screaming, but are left wondering what was this all about? If you examine the substance, there are two things that the House Managers allege the President did wrong. One, they allege that the President wrongfully delayed aid to Ukraine. And two, they allege that the President wrongfully asked for an investigation into a political rival. Both of those are legitimate ends.
"Let me address them one at a time because there is a deep irony in the argument of the House Managers. Both of those objectives are consistent with law, are permissible and legal, and both of those objectives have been done by any measure substantially worse by the preceding administration - by the Obama administration.
"Let's take delaying aid to Ukraine. Madam President, I am a big believer in America's standing with Ukraine. Indeed, I traveled with Ukraine. I went to the Maiden Square and stood with protesters who had been shot down by their government as the protesters stood for freedom.
"I believe military aid to Ukraine is a good thing. And it is true that the Trump administration temporarily delayed aid to Ukraine. That is their right to do so. Presidents have delayed foreign aid before. The Trump administration has done so with regard to a number of countries. The Obama administration did so. Before that, previous administrations have done so.
"But we heard hour upon hour of the House Managers trying to establish the proposition that aid to Ukraine was delayed, when President Trump admits aid to Ukraine was delayed. There's no dispute about it.
"And we heard testimony about how Ukrainians died because aid was delayed. Here's the irony, Madam President, if you support aid to Ukraine, as I do, military aid to Ukraine as they stand up to Russia, there is no dispute whatsoever that for the entirety of his presidency, President Obama refused to give lethal military aid, defensive aid to Ukraine. Despite the fact that I and many other members of this body called on President Obama to give aid to Ukraine.
"Madam President, I remember when we all went to the floor of the House of Representatives to hear a speech to a joint session of Congress from President Poroshenko, then the President of Ukraine, where the President of Ukraine called out the Obama administration because they were sending blankets and MRE's - meals. And President Poroshenko rightly said, ‘you can't fight a Russian tank with a blanket.'
"So if the House Managers are right that there's something improper about delaying military aid, the Obama administration did so for the entirety of the administration. And what did President Trump do? He did something Obama never did. He provided lethal, defensive military aid, Javelin missiles that can take out Russian tanks.
"The first ground they allege of delaying aid is legal and permissible. And by any measure, the Trump administration's record on it is much, much better than the Obama administration.
"How about the second ground? Directing an investigation into your political rival. Madam President, the most important legal question in this proceeding, the question that resolves this proceeding is: does a President, have the constitutional authority to investigate credible allegations of corruption?
"The House Managers built their case on the proposition that seeking an investigation into Burisma, the corrupt Ukrainian natural gas company, and Joe Biden and Hunter Biden seeking any investigation into whether there was corruption there, was in the words of the House Managers, ‘baseless a sham and utterly without merit.'
"In their opening arguments, the House Managers spent over two hours trying to make that case. And Madam President, I will say on the face of it that proposition is objectively absurd.
"And the White House legal defense team laid out in considerable detail that there was very substantial evidence of corruption. Burisma is a company that was built on corruption.
"The oligarch who started Burisma, Mr. Zlochvesky, was the sitting Energy Minister in Ukraine, and he amassed his billions by, as the sitting Energy Minister, giving gas licenses to his own company that he was heading. That's where Burisma made their money. It was a company built on corruption from day one. And I think it's worth pausing and examining the timeline of what occurred, because remember the House Managers case is it's baseless and a sham to even investigate corruption.
"In early 2014, Vice President Joe Biden was named the point person for the Obama administration on Ukraine. On April 13 of 2014, Devin Archer, business partners with Hunter Biden, the son of Joe Biden, joined the board of Burisma - began being paid a million dollars a year. April 28, Britain's [Serious] Fraud Bureau freezes 23 million dollars in accounts controlled by Zlochevsky, the oligarch who owned Burisma. And then just two weeks on May 12, Hunter Biden, the son of Joe Biden, is named to the board and paid a million dollars a year, despite having no background in oil and gas and no discernable background in Ukraine.
"Hunter Biden gets paid a million dollars a year and Joe Biden actively, aggressively, vigorously, leads the Obama administration's policies on Ukraine.
"Now the House Managers were asked in questioning, ‘What exactly did Hunter Biden do for his million dollars a year?' They refused to answer that. That is a perfectly reasonable question to ask if you're investigating corruption.
"Joe Biden is seen on video, not just admitting, but bragging that he told the President of Ukraine that he would personally block a billion dollars in foreign aid loan guarantees unless Ukraine fired the prosecutor that was investigating Burisma, the company paying his son a million dollars a year. And as Joe Biden bragged on that video, ‘Well son of a bitch, they fired him.'
"Now that on its face raises significant issues of potential corruption. We don't know for sure if there was in fact corruption, but when President Trump asked that it be investigated to get to the bottom of what happened, the President has the authority to investigate corruption and there was more than sufficient basis to do so.
"And of course the House Managers are right that it is somehow illegitimate, it is somehow inappropriate, it is in fact impeachable to seek the investigation of your political rival. We know for a fact that the Obama administration not only sought the investigation but aggressively led an investigation marred by abuse of power going after then-candidate Trump. Including wiretaps, including fraudulently obtained court documents, court warrants from the FISA court.
"Madam President, impeachment is an extraordinary remedy. It's not designed for when you disagree. It's not designed for when you have political differences or policy differences. It's designed for when a President crosses the constitutional threshold.
"You know on February 6, 1974 the Democratic Judiciary Committee Chairman, Peter Rodino, Democrat from New Jersey, who led the impeachment inquiry into Richard Nixon, told his colleagues, ‘Whatever the result, whatever we learn or conclude, let us now proceed with such care and decency and thoroughness and honor that the vast majority of the American people and their children after them will say, this was the right course. There was no other way.'
"That was the standard that led to an overwhelming bipartisan vote to open the impeachment proceedings against Richard Nixon. That standard was not remotely followed by the House Managers.
"This was a partisan impeachment and we are right now in an election year. The voters are voting and it is up to the voters to decide which policies they want to continue. The House Managers have abused the constitutional process by trying to use impeachment to settle a partisan score.
"That is divisive to the country. And I am proud that this body will vote, I hope in a bipartisan way to reject these Articles of Impeachment, to acquit the President, and to find President Trump not guilty of the articles the House has sent over."