WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today hosted a press conference in the U.S. Capitol to discuss the latest on the ongoing impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. Flanked by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Menendez outlined what he expects to learn as the trial enters the question-and-answer phase this afternoon.
“When we start questioning period today, I want to hear facts, not spin,” said the Senator. “At the end of the day, it is hard to look at the facts, facts are pretty stubborn. It’s hard to look at the facts and reconcile it with the President’s defense. I have not heard anything that suggests [the President’s] own national security officials thought that what he was doing was just fine; or that he wasn’t soliciting foreign interference in our elections for his own benefit.”
On claims that the President was concerned about corruption in Ukraine:
“I have listened carefully to the President’s legal team and one thing I haven’t heard from them is a defense of the facts. What I haven’t heard was why the President greenlighted aid to Ukraine 45 times between January of 2017 and June of 2019 to the tune of $1.5 billion. As Ranking Member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I can confirm there were certifications by … the Department of Defense that said Ukraine was meeting its responsibilities and goals as it relates to dealing with its fight against corruption … 45 times, $1.5 billion, between January of 2017 and June of 2019, and that money flowed.”
On Republicans’ refusal to call witnesses and allow evidence:
“It is amazing that you have a witness who provides essential information to the core of article of impeachment number 1, Abuse of Power, who says, ‘I am willing to come forward,’ and to ultimately have our colleagues refuse to call on that person to come forward … if the President of the United States can deny all witnesses, all documents … If he can drive the ability to have no witnesses for Congress to do oversight, no documents for Congress to do oversight, added to the fact that this administration believes it can go to war without getting Congressional approval, all while it takes away one of Congress’ main roles by transferring away money appropriated for the Defense Department to pay for the President’s wall … then guess what? The very essence of our democracy, the essence of checks and balances for the American people are eviscerated.”