IN Focus: Indiana lawmakers, President Trump react to impeachment hearings

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– The impeachment hearings are over for now but could continue after the Thanksgiving holiday. Thursday, we heard from former National Security Council Russia Expert Fiona Hill and Ukraine diplomat David Holmes, and once again, we saw President Donald Trump respond to the hearings on Twitter. This time, President Donald Trump expressed doubts over Holmes’ recollection of a telephone conversation he overheard between Ambassador Gordon Sondland and President Trump. Holmes said he could hear it because the President was speaking loudly. “I then heard President Trump ask, so, he is going to do the investigation? Ambassador Sondland replied that he is going to do it, adding that President Zelensky will do anything you ask him to do,” said Holmes. Politico contributing editor Adam Wren said the witnesses gave clear and telling testimony. “President Trump used the power and authority of his office to try to incentivize Ukraine to investigate his chief political opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden,” said Wren. But is that impeachable and worthy of the President’s removal? Wren said that’s up to Congress to decide. Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) said he isn’t convinced. He said the hearings are entirely political. “I believe all the witnesses are giving their opinion, their interpretation.” Sen. Braun said he needs more concrete evidence. “I look at questions like, do you think this is an impeachable offense? Did the president actually say there was a quid pro quo?” said Braun. He later said, “If there is further evidence that would come forward, either exculpatory or you know blaming the president with a closer connection, you’ve got to be open to that.” Wren said even if the President is impeached, it likely won’t impact voters in 2020. “His supporters will kind of wear this impeachment as a badge of honor and his detractors will kind of hold this over his head for the rest of his tenure,” said Wren. In the video above, President Trump reacts to this week’s hearings and blasts Speaker Nancy Pelosi in an interview with Nexstar Washington correspondent Anna Wiernicki. But there are also questions about Vice President Mike Pence, after Ambassador Gordon Sondland testified this week he expressed concerns to Pence about the delay in military aid to Ukraine, something the VP’s office has denied. Wren said he isn’t sure about how this impeachment inquiry will impact Pence. “If he gets into an interview and sort of has to deal with tough questions from a reporter or journalist,” said Wren. “I’m really interested to see how this moves forward and how he is able to handle it and what that does to his position on the ticket.” He thinks more testimony will continue after Thanksgiving and eventually, the President will be impeached. However, it will come down to Senators to decide whether to remove him from office. After the hearings in the House intelligence committee this week, committee member Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) issued a statement about the impeachment process, defending the inquiry and his committee chair:
“These hearings have been historic. Not only because this is just the fourth presidential impeachment inquiry in American history, but also because of the presidential behavior in question, which was vividly illustrated by the witnesses who have come before our committee and the American people. I thank all of them for providing their testimony, which further revealed the necessity of this process to hold our leaders accountable… I am honored to have participated in these hearings, and through hours of testimony, I gained a deeper appreciation of the many things that truly make America great: principled public servants who believe in the promise of America, and put duty and country above self; the strength of American diplomacy, and its ability to shape geopolitics for the better; and our country’s reputation as a beacon of stability and a leader on the world stage. Yet, those attributes were all threatened and grossly undermined by President Trump’s actions, which makes me even more confident that the inquiry is the only way to begin repairing this damage, and ensure it never happens again. I thank Chairman Schiff for his continued leadership in this endeavor. He has endured countless attacks, smears and threats, all in the pursuit of the truth. He too represents so much of what is great about our country and its leaders.”
This week’s hearings also took center stage at Wednesday’s presidential debate, with nearly all of the Democratic candidates still supporting the impeachment process. In the video below, Wren recaps the debate, and analyzes the latest polling numbers:

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