House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel defended the Democrats’ handling of the impeachment inquiry, while Republican Whip Steve Scalise said the inquiry is nothing like what Presidents Bill Clinton or Richard Nixon faced.
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“It’s not a matter of Republican support, it’s a matter of what the president did,” Engel, D-N.Y., said on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday.
“Let’s look at what he’s done, no other president in American history has done something like that,” he added. “He tried to essentially bribe a foreign power to interfere in U.S. elections.”
Scalise, R-La., insisted to ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos — in a separate interview — that the July phone call between President Donald Trump and the president of Ukraine was not about the 2020 election or investigating political opponents.
“That’s not what was happening on the phone call,” Scalise said. “Even when the president said, ‘will you do me a favor,’ he went on to ask about CrowdStrike. That wasn’t about Joe Biden.”
“It wasn’t about a political opponent, it was about corruption that happened prior,” he added.
He also responded to Engel by saying that the rules for the impeachment inquiry were “nothing like” the ones in the Clinton and Nixon impeachment proceedings.
(MORE: Rules of impeachment, then and now: ANALYSIS)
In a historic vote on Thursday, the House of Representatives passed a resolution to authorize the impeachment inquiry and lay out guidelines for the next steps in the process. The vote was mostly along party lines, with two Democrats joining Republicans to vote against the measure.
Trump slammed the vote during his Mississippi campaign rally on Friday, calling it “an attack on Democracy itself.”
(MORE: What happens next in the House impeachment inquiry?)
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U.S. Representative Eliot Engel speaks at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) National Leadership Summit in Washington, DC. | U.S. representative Steve Scalise speaks at a press conference in the US Capitol.
House Democrats and Republicans commented on the vote in separate press conferences on Thursday.
Scalise, along with other Republicans, criticized the vote and called the process “tainted.”
“So when you look at this Soviet-style process, it shows you that they don’t really want to get to the truth. They want to remove a sitting president,” he said.
Engel joined other chairs of the committees driving the impeachment inquiry’s investigation and said that he was glad that the resolution would provide an “open, fair process that will allow the American people to hear from witnesses, see the evidence, and understand that the troubling story of what the president and his allies did.”