Sarbanes Discuses Latest Developments in the Impeachment Inquiry on MSNBC’s ‘The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell’ [Video]
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) joined MSNBC’s ‘The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell’ last night to discuss the latest developments in the U.S. House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry into President Donald J. Trump’s abuse of power, illicit activity and misconduct.
See below for a video and a transcript of the Congressman’s interview with Lawrence O’Donnell.
O’Donnell: “Congressman Sarbanes, I wanted to get your reaction to the revelations in the depositions today, especially to this point that the Ukrainians knew that this aid was being withheld and they knew it long before it became public.”
Congressman Sarbanes: “Well, Lawrence, thanks for having me on today. I think we were pretty confident, just based on the overall testimony that was coming forward over the last few weeks, that it would become clear that the Ukrainians were aware of this hold having been placed. Now, you have a direct corroborating testimony to that, and it puts a lie to the Republican defense that somehow the quid pro quo wasn’t there because there wasn’t Ukrainian knowledge that there was a quid pro quo. They knew exactly what was being done to them. It was a breathtaking abuse of power on the part of the Administration to tie this security assistance to a promise that the Ukrainians would investigate a political rival of the President. That’s all becoming clear. It’ll be much more clear this week, I think, to the broad public when we get the testimony from these three diplomats. These are very professional people. The testimony they’ve delivered in closed session was very compelling, and I think you’ll see that have a real impact in terms of the public getting an opportunity now to hear directly from these witnesses.”
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O’Donnell: “Congressman Sarbanes, how surprised were you and other members of the committee when you heard testimony like this?”
Congressman Sarbanes: “I mean, this is astounding, Lawrence, if you think about it. I mean, the President is protecting Russia, that appears to be the case, at the expense of an ally, Ukraine. And he’s prepared to hold back $400 million of security assistance that that country needs to defend itself against Russian aggression, because he’s more interested in defending Russians then defending an ally that the United States Congress decided should receive foreign assistance to the tune of $400 million.
“And if you think about it in terms of these diplomats that are going to be testifying this week – if you look at the record of William Taylor, of Marie Yovanovitch of George Kent – these are diplomats who have spent their whole careers fighting corruption, and their own president is trying to pull them into a corrupt scheme. And to their credit, I have to say, they’re raising a red flag, they’re pushing back and they’re saying, “This is not right.” And they’re doing everything they can, you can see that from the testimony, to make sure that that kind of a trade will not happen on their watch. But they’re under tremendous pressure. I think when the public sees and hears the testimony from these professionals, they will see that these are folks that are playing it straight, that wanted to represent the interests of the United States. Not the interests of Russia, or anybody else, the interests of the United States. And that’s why we can have such confidence in the testimony they’re going to be delivering.”
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O’Donnell: “Congressman Sarbanes, you’ve been invoked here, a quick last word. I think you may have a semantic disagreement.”
Congressman Sarbanes: “Well, look, I certainly agree with John on that, that it is disgusting, but he’s not just acting in Russia’s interest. He’s always acting in Donald Trump’s personal, political interest. And that’s why this is an abuse of his power – it’s a betrayal of his oath of office. He gets up every morning, and unfortunately, he’s not thinking about the 350 million Americans whose interests he should represent. He’s thinking about his own personal political gain. This is just another example of that. The witnesses this week are gonna show that that’s what’s been going on.”