Rep. Lee Zeldin during the impeachment debate on the House floor last month. Image: C-Span video screenshot

After six hours of bitter partisan debate, the House of Representatives last night impeached President Donald Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The vote was largely along party lines on both articles of impeachment. The article on abuse of power passed 230 to 197, with two Democrats voting no and Republicans united in opposition. The article on obstruction of Congress passed 229 to 198, with three Democrats joining Republicans against its passage.

After the vote, Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), an ardent and vocal supporter of the president, posted to his Facebook page: “The House of Representatives just disgraced itself, by voting to impeach a duly elected President of the United States without a crime, based on hearsay, lies, presumptions and an organized misinformation campaign.”

During the debate on the floor of the House, Zeldin took the podium for three minutes just before 6:30 p.m.

Below is a transcript of Zeldin’s remarks and a clip of the video, both provided by C-Span.

“This impeachment is an embarrassment for House Democrats. On the substance, Dems claim that their case is uncontested, relying on presumptions, hearsay and 3% of the story, trying to connect dots that aren’t actually connected.

“Some inconvenient truths: President Zelensky didn’t know there was a hold on aid until August 29. The aid gets released shortly thereafter and Ukraine didn’t have to do anything to get that aid released. President Zelensky says no demand, no quid pro quo, no pressure.

“But Democrats want the public to ignore the other 97% of this story. See it — it doesn’t work like that. Senate Democrats want new witnesses to show why there was a hold on aid. Odd request if you think you’ve already proven your case. At the heart of this debate, two investigations are being discussed between countries. Democrats and media allies want the public to believe it’s all just debunked that Ukrainians interfered in the 2016 election. They want you to ignore (unintelligible) and Charlie’s comments that Chalupa worked with the Ukrainian embassy, origins of the Steele dossier, the black ledger and more. The problem with all of this is that the American public are smarter than Democrats are giving them credit for.

“Next, the Democrats claim Republicans are arguing that it was Ukraine and not Russia that wanted to interfere and was interfering in the 2016 election. No, that is not what Republicans are saying. Of course we have the Barisma-Biden issue of a corrupt Ukrainian energy company run by a corrupt Ukrainian oligarch hiring Hunter Biden at at least 50 thousand dollars a month with no experience in energy, no Ukraine experience solely because he is V.P. Biden’s son. Now, the company wanted to hire Hunter Biden because they wanted to curry favor. There was this ongoing corruption investigation. Enter Joe Biden. He gets that prosecutor fired. Threatening the loss of $ 1 billion if it didn’t happen immediately—

“Democrats believe Barisma and Biden should be immune from scrutiny. I disagree. Never again should that conflict of interest ever happen. Our governments should be working together to get to the bottom of all of this. This has also been a total disaster on the process. From getting a federal worker to file a whistleblower complaint, to Schiff’s version made up of the July 25 call. In closed-door interviews, Schiff was prosecutor, judge, jury and witness coach. Every day he loved getting America drunk on his favorite cocktail. Three ingredients, cherry-picking leaks, withholding key facts, and misstating evidence. And in depositions and in the public hearings, the president’s counsel was not invited to attend, present evidence or cross-examine witnesses. Republicans weren’t allowed to call witnesses like Hunter Biden, Joe Biden and many others. Then there was the House Judiciary debacle where Schiff couldn’t even show up to present his report. He had to have one of his staffers present it for him.

“This impeachment is ripping our country in half. It’s fatally flawed on the process, the substance, the intentions and the consequences. It’s a total Schiff show. I encourage all of my colleagues to vote no.”

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.