During the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment debate on Thursday, Representative Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) joked about President Donald Trump keeping the 15-year-old daughter of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky duct-taped in his basement.
Johnson, along with other Democrats on the committee, tried to shoot down Zelensky’s numerous public assertions that he was not pressured by President Trump to conduct an investigation into Hunter and Joe Biden.
At a September press conference at the United Nations, Zelensky called his July 25 phone call with President Trump (the call that sparked the impeachment inquiry) “normal” and said “nobody pushed [him]” to look into Biden.
“I think you read everything,” Zelensky told reporters. “I think you read text. I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be involved to democratic open elections, elections of USA. No, sure, we had I think good phone call. It was normal. We spoke about many things, and I — so I think and you read it that nobody pushed me.”
Johnson suggested that Zelensky was scared to say the truth and accused the president of leveraging an “imbalance” of power to keep the Ukrainian leader quiet.
How completely unhinged Democrats have become in this Impeachment hearing?
Member of the Judiciary Committee Hank Johnson (D-GA) just said Impeachment is justified because:
1. Trump taller than Prez. Zelensky
2. Trump had Zelensky's daughter "in the basement duct taped"
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) December 12, 2019
A big chair for President Trump, little chair for President Zelensky. Big, six-foot-four President Trump, five-foot-eleven Mr. Zelensky, President Zelensky. And they’re standing there, President Trump is holding court. And he says, “Oh, by the way, no pressure.” And you saw President Zelensky shaking his head as if his daughter was downstairs in the basement, duct-taped. [Laughter] I mean, there’s an imbalance of power in that relationship. It always has been. And there’s no way that the nation of Ukraine can stand up to the power, the power of the United States of America. And President Trump used that unequal bargaining position. He leveraged his power in that relationship, not for the benefit of the United States of America, but for his own benefit.
Zelensky’s daughter, Oleksandra, is 15 years old.
This isn’t the first time Johnson’s humor has gotten him into the news cycle. During a 2010 House Armed Services Committee hearing, the congressman expressed fear that Guam would “tip over and capsize” if additional U.S. troops were deployed to a military base on the island. Johnson, however, later claimed that he was joking.
The two articles of impeachment Democrats have prepared against the president — one for abuse of power and the other for obstruction of Congress (neither of which is an actual crime) — are based on the allegation that President Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine in order to pressure Zelensky to conduct a probe into the Bidens’ business dealings there.
Just this month, Zelensky reiterated his stance that there was no pressure or quid pro quo.
“Look, I never talked to the president from the position of a quid pro quo. That’s not my thing.… I don’t want us to look like beggars,” he said in an interview.
Ukraine ultimately received the military aid after a delay. The public announcement of an investigation into the Bidens by Ukraine that Democrats claim was President Trump’s condition for the aid never materialized.
On Wednesday night, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a justification for the White House’s withholding of aid to Ukraine, which OMB described as a “programmatic delay” that was necessary to “ensure that funds were not obligated prematurely in a manner that could conflict with the President's foreign policy.”
In an official press release, Zelensky said he “didn’t even know” the aid had been temporarily blocked.
On Wednesday, Representative Doug Collins (R-Ga.) accused Democrats of calling Zelensky a “liar.”
“The majority is saying Mr. Zelensky is a liar, and we in this body — the Democrats are tearing down a world leader in the eyes of those that don’t like him and his own country and Russia who is attacking him,” the lawmaker said.
Similarly, Representative John Ratcliffe (R-Texas), during the testimony of de facto Ukraine ambassador William Taylor in the House Intelligence Committee last month, said Democrats’ case rests on calling Zelensky a “liar.”
Because to be clear, if House Democrats impeach President Trump for a quid pro quo involving military aid, they have to call President Zelensky a liar. If they impeach him for abusing his power or pressuring or making threats or demands, they have to call President Zelensky a liar to do it. If they impeach President Trump for blackmail or extortion or making threats or demands, they have to call [President Zelensky] a liar to do it.
Andriy Yermak, Zelensky’s top aide, said in an interview with Time published on Tuesday that Ukraine never felt there was a tie between military aid and investigations.
“We never had that feeling,” Yerman stated, adding “We did not have the feeling that this aid was connected to any one specific issue.”
Photo: AP Images
Luis Miguel is a writer whose journalistic endeavors shed light on the Deep State, the immigration crisis, and the enemies of freedom. Follow his exploits on Facebook, Twitter, Bitchute, and at luisantoniomiguel.com.