From the view of the White House and some top Republicans, U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart’s questioning of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch on Friday was the point where House Democrats’ impeachment argument showed the party had “no case” against President Trump.
During Friday’s public hearings, Yovanovitch told Stewart, a Utah Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, that she could supply the panel with no information regarding criminal activity or bribes that President Trump may have been involved with.
Stewart: “I would now feel compelled to ask you, Madam Ambassador, as you sit here before us, very simply and directly, do you have any information regarding the president of the United States accepting any bribes?”
Stewart: “Do you have any information regarding any criminal activity that the president of the United States has been involved with at all?”
Stewart thanked Yovanovitch before predicting that public support for impeachment would decrease after the hearings.
“The American people know this is nonsense,” Stewart said. “The American people know this is unfair.”
“The American people know this is nonsense. The American people know this is unfair.”
— U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart, House Intelligence Committee
Both the White House and some top Republicans reacted to the exchange, saying it proved their argument that the impeachment inquiry was without merit.
“In 30 seconds,” a White House message on Twitter read, “@RepChrisStewart got the answers that House democrats have spent 7 hours trying to avoid.
“7 hours that Congress could’ve spent working for you–on drug price legislation, USMCA, immigration reform, or infrastructure–instead of for their own political careers.”
“Zero evidence of wrongdoing by the President was presented,” White house press secretary Stephanie Grisham wrote in a statement. “In fact, Ambassador Yovanovitch testified under oath that she was unaware of any criminal activity involving President Trump.”
Grisham added later: “It is difficult to image a greater waste of time than today’s hearing, and yet unfortunately we expect more of the same partisan political theater next week from House Democrats.”
“Zero evidence of wrongdoing by the President was presented. … It is difficult to image a greater waste of time than today’s hearing.”
— Stephanie Grisham, White House press secretary
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., reacted to the exchange on Twitter, saying that Democrats had “no case.”
“The Democrats second day impeachment witness, Ambassador Yovanovitch, has no information on any of the relevant questions,” Meadows tweeted. “They have no case. This is not serious.”
Earlier, Meadows wrote that Stewart’s questioning of Yovanovitch had “summarized this whole hearing.”
Stewart later predicted that more Americans would support Trump as a result of the hearings.
“The American people are going to be able to see the evidence and they’re going to be able to make their own determination regarding that,” Stewart told the Salt Lake Tribune. He also apologized to Yovanovitch for being “drugged” [dragged] into appearing.