President Trump ‘abused his power to improperly to put his thumb on the scale for the election’: Rep. Zoe Lofgren

President Trump ‘abused his power to improperly to put his thumb on the scale for the election’: Rep. Zoe Lofgren

President Trump ‘abused his power to improperly to put his thumb on the scale for the election’: Rep. Zoe Lofgren originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

President Donald Trump hits every button on high crimes and misdemeanors, abusing his presidential power in a way similar to President Richard Nixon, said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., on ABC’s “This Week.”

In response, a key defender of the president’s dealings in Ukraine, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., criticized Democrats’ standards of impeachment for Trump.

“What is so dizzying, George, is the evolving standard for impeachment from Democrats. Through most of 2019, Nancy Pelosi said she opposed impeachment, not because the Mueller facts weren’t strong enough in her view, but because it wasn’t bipartisan,” Gaetz told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos.

(MORE: Democrats plot week ahead for impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump)

Both representatives serve on the House Judiciary Committee, the congressional panel tasked with drawing up articles of impeachment against the president.

Lofgren has played a significant role in every impeachment inquiry in modern United States history. During the early 1970s Watergate scandal, Lofgren helped draft articles of impeachment for President Richard Nixon while working as a congressional staffer to a member of the House Judiciary Committee.

At the time of President Bill Clinton’s impeachment, Lofgren had served in Congress for four years. Sitting on House Judiciary, the congresswoman watched as the Republican-controlled committee drafted and approved articles of impeachment for the Democratic president.

“In the case of President Trump, not only has he abused his power to improperly to put his thumb on the scale for the election, he used a foreign policy to do it and that really hits all the buttons that the Founding Fathers were concerned about,” Lofgren told Stephanopoulos on Sunday.

The two representatives also disagreed on whether President Donald Trump should call witnesses to the panel.

“The president has improperly withheld important witnesses,” Lofgren said on Sunday. “The idea of absolute immunity is preposterous.”

Gaetz disagrees and told Stephanopoulos, “The president has to make decisions not only for him but for the presidency.”

“I think it would inure to the president’s advantage to have people testify who could exculpate him, but they — we want to preserve an executive branch where there are out-of-the-box strategy sessions where people come up with crazy ideas and reject those ideas and hone them,” he added.

PHOTO: U.S.Representative Zoe Lofgren speaks during an event in support of the House vote on the SAFE Act, at the US Capitol in Washington, DC. (Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

During the Judiciary Committee’s impeachment hearing on Wednesday, four legal scholars evaluated whether the president’s involvement with Ukraine constituted an impeachable offense. Three of the witnesses, invited by the Democrats, argued that President Donald Trump abused presidential power in his dealings with Ukraine. The other witness, invited by Republicans, disagreed. He said that he believed there was not enough evidence to remove Trump from office.

(MORE: Key takeaways on the House Judiciary Committee’s 1st hearing on Trump’s impeachment)

Gaetz on Wednesday questioned the Democratic-invited witness, Stanford Law School professor Pamela Karlan, on her political donations to Democrats, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton. He also criticized Karlan for invoking the name of Trump’s adolescent son, Barron.

The Florida Republican also criticized the president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, for his trip to Ukraine this past week.

PHOTO: Rep. Matt Gaetz speaks during testimony by constitutional scholars before the House Judiciary Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill December 4, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Rep. Matt Gaetz speaks during testimony by constitutional scholars before the House Judiciary Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill December 4, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)

(MORE: Giuliani in Ukraine with conservative news outlet in effort to discredit impeachment probe)

“But it is weird that he is over there,” he said on “This Week” Sunday. “I’m very grateful that very soon after I made those comments on CNN, the president put out a statement that said Rudy Giuliani does want to come into Congress and explain his role.”

The Judiciary Committee will hold its second public impeachment hearing on Monday when lawyers for the Democrats and Republicans from the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees will present findings from their investigations.


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