Fox News anchor Chris Wallace challenged Rep. Eric Swalwell on the House impeachment inquiry and whether he could be considered “impartial” in the strategy against President Trump.
Wallace questioned the California Democrat and former 2020 presidential candidate about the impeachment process and issues Trump has raised on its legitimacy during a “Fox News Sunday” interview.
(Video: Fox News)
Noting the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Wallace questioned Swalwell about the impact the development would have on the case Democrats are making for impeaching the president.
“We expect the president to carry out his duties as president just as President Nixon did when he underwent an impeachment inquiry and just as President Clinton did, and we are going to continue to make sure he’s held to account. This can be compartmentalized,” he replied, stressing that Democrats were not concerned with the president’s successes but only in the “extortion scheme that it looks like he led” and other accusations.
Wallace pressed the lawmaker on the closed-door proceedings Democrats have been holding, a major point of contention by Republicans who stormed one hearing last week to protest.
“This will move to a public proceeding soon,” Swalwell promised, adding that “you would be shocked about how few of [the Republicans] actually show up and participate” in the proceedings.
“As a matter of basic fairness, shouldn’t Republicans, shouldn’t the president get a chance to at least hear and even to confront the accuser who set all of this in motion?” Wallace asked.
Swalwell gave a non-answer, claiming that the whistleblower was actually “not the accuser,” but just someone who “pulled the fire alarm.”
He was then questioned about his own qualifications to participate as a member of the House Intelligence Committee, given his personal bias, as Wallace aired video clips showing recent comments made by Swalwell.
“In America, if you confess to a crime, you still get a fair trial. We have a confession, we have a crime,” he said in a clip. “Whether it’s by the president or those obstructing on his behalf. They’re doing this because this is what the guilty do.”
“How can you be considered an impartial fact-finder when you seem to have come to the conclusion the president is guilty before you’ve heard a single witness defending the president?” Wallace asked.
“Obstructive acts in our law and our system of laws are considered consciousness of guilt,” Swalwell responded. “When people try and obstruct the proceedings, jurors are told you can use that as a consciousness of guilt.”
“There may be another side to this story?” Wallace wondered.
The Democrat claimed he had not seen that yet while saying that Trump is entitled to a fair hearing.
“If this was Donald Trump justice, Donald Trump would be impeached and removed by now,” he said. “He jumps to conclusions, doesn’t really rely on facts. We’re giving him a fair process that he is allowed to participate in.”
Wallace quickly corrected Swalwell, reminding him that the president has, in fact, not been allowed to participate at all.
“Well, he’s not allowed to participate, because you haven’t allowed him to have a counsel present or to ask questions of the witnesses, so he has not been able to participate,” Wallace said.
“He’s allowed to participate in that we have subpoenaed witnesses who he has told not to come forward,” Swalwell responded, without really addressing Wallace’s contention.
“We’ve asked for documents that he has refused to turn over, and I just assume and I think my colleagues assume that if those documents could exonerate him, if those witnesses would exonerate him, he would send them forward,” he said. “If he’s going to obstruct our efforts, we’re going to put that in the bucket of a consciousness of guilt.”
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