Mark Faust
Mark Faust
By Mark Faust
HCP columnist

Now that the impeachment inquiry is over (at least for the time being), America has had a few days to digest the testimony of those close to the infamous phone call between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and President Donald Trump.

The hearings have been a rollercoaster of “bombshell” reports for those who have followed the hearings. If you watch Rachel Maddow on MSNBC you will learn that President Trump is the most corrupt president in American History. The left-leaning media have routinely run stories claiming that the evidence against Trump is overwhelming and removing Trump from office is the only way to save the country.

If you have tuned in to Sean Hannity on FOX, you will get the complete opposite point of view. Hannity, and other right-leaning media, will argue that there is no evidence of impeachable offenses and the entire set of hearings was an attempt by the “Deep State” to stage a coup against a duly-elected president.

The problem with the entire ordeal stems with trust. Who can the American people trust to deliver the truth about the hearings? Should we believe the political pundits on cable news who seem most concerned about their ratings? Can we believe the politicians who rush out of the hearings to give a press conference to support their view of President Trump?

Separating fact from opinion can be very difficult in today’s politically polarized culture.

Since I am not an expert on Ukrainian policy, I will spare everyone my opinion of the hearings, and since it is a congressional investigation, my “opinion” doesn't amount to a hill of beans anyway. Facts are (or should be) the only thing that matters.

If Adam Schiff’s claim that the evidence supporting the president’s misconduct in Ukraine is “ironclad,” the facts should lead us all to the same conclusion. Of course, President Trump is going to claim he is innocent of all charges in the “witch hunt,” so we can’t get bogged down by partisan interpretation. Just like with the TV pundits, if can be difficult to believe our elected officials as well.

Having said all that, how does America reach a verdict on the alleged impeachable offenses by President Trump? If we are looking past the TV pundits and the politicians, where do we get the facts? I am suggesting that everyone simply examine the direct testimony of the witnesses who were called to testify in the hearings.

I decided to cut through all the MSNBC, CNN and FOX expert interpretations of the hearings and go straight to the testimony itself. The testimony of those who know best should be more than enough to convict/exonerate President Trump.

Following are direct questions and answers from the impeachment hearings. I will let you draw your own conclusions on the merit of the entire impeachment process.

Rep. John Ratcliffe questioned State Department official George Kent and top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine Bill Taylor on the infamous phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky:

Rep. Racliffe: “In this impeachment hearing today, where we impeach presidents for treason or bribery or other high crimes, where was the impeachable offense in that call? Are either of you here today to assert that there was an impeachable offense in that call? Shout it out. Anyone?”

Kent and Taylor: Silence. They did not respond to the question.

Rep. Chris Stewart questioned U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovich about illegal activity by President Trump:

Rep. Stewart: “Do you have any information regarding the president of the United States accepting any bribes?”

Ambassador Yovanovitch: “No.”

Rep. Stewart: “Do you have any information regarding any criminal activity that the President of the United States has been involved with at all?”

Ambassador Yovanovitch: “No.”

Rep. Elise Stefanik questioned Kurt Volker, former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine and Tim Morrison, a staffer on the National Security Council.

Rep. Stefanik: “Did either of you ever have any evidence of quid pro quo?”

Morrison: “No ma’am.”

Volker: “I did not.”

Rep. Stefanik: “Any evidence of bribery?”

Morrison: “No ma’am.”

Volker: “No ma’am.”

Rep. Stefanik: “Any evidence of treason?”

Morrison: “No ma’am.”

Volker: “No evidence of treason.”

While being questioned by Rep. Jim Jordan, U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland recalled a conversation he had with President Trump about Ukraine. Sondland recalled that President Trump said the following:

“I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky, President Zelensky to do the right thing.”

After hearing the testimony of the expert witnesses, I’m sure that this will be the end of the impeachment talk. Six different witnesses confirm that there is no evidence of bribery, illegal activity, quid pro quo or treason.

But I think many knew that the impeachment inquiry was farce to begin with. It was nothing more than attempt to remove President Trump from office. If you don’t believe me, take it from Rep. Al Green, who said the following in May: "I'm concerned that if we don't impeach this president, he will get re-elected.”

While I still doubt everything that comes out of the cable news industry, maybe I was wrong about government officials. Maybe all we need to do to get them to tell the truth is put them in front of Congress and ask the right questions.