House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told fellow Democrats that they need to have a common narrative when responding to questions about the impeachment inquiry.
“This is a very serious event in our country,” she told Democrats on Wednesday during a meeting.
Pelosi said that she wishes it “could have been avoided. None of us came here to impeach a president. All of us take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, but as I just said, we’re legislating at the same time,” the Washington Examiner reported.
In the meeting, she reportedly coached other Democratic lawmakers on messaging about Trump. Her party is accusing him of abusing his office by withholding aid to Ukraine in exchange for investigating a potential political foe, Joe Biden, which the president has denied.
Pelosi told Democrats that Trump “must be held accountable, he is not above the law. No president is. And we have a responsibility to make sure that that is the message, not only for today but for the ages.”
She also stated that she had asked Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who is chairing the impeachment proceedings, to give other Democrats “a narrative at the end about a summation of what happened there.”
The first public hearings regarding the impeachment inquiry started on Wednesday, with diplomats Bill Taylor and George Kent testifying.
Taylor, during his testimony, claimed the White House cared more about investigations than Ukraine.
U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland “told President Trump that the Ukrainians were ready to move forward. Following the call with President Trump, the member of my staff asked Ambassador Sondland what President Trump thought about Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden, which [Trump attorney Rudy] Giuliani was pressing for,” he said.
The Trump administration ultimately gave military aid to Ukraine, and Kyiv didn’t make a public statement about pursuing investigations that were allegedly sought by the White House.
The White House issued a statement, saying that their testimonies are tantamount to “two bureaucrats with a foreign policy gripe.”
“Dems star witnesses can’t provide any first hand knowledge of any wrongdoing by @POTUS. Their own testimony contradicts the Dems false quid pro quo narrative. These are essentially two bureaucrats with a foreign policy gripe,” press secretary Stephanie Grisham wrote.
Trump has described Taylor and the lawyer who is representing him as “Never Trumpers.” On Wednesday, he repeated the claim on Twitter.
“READ THE TRANSCRIPT!” he wrote, referring to the White House transcript of his call with Zelensky that was released in September after the inquiry was announced by Pelosi.