Washington—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today delivered the following remarks before the House voted on articles of impeachment:
"As Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, this is a sad day. No one is gleeful that the President’s actions have brought us to this point. But when you boil it down, we’re here today because the President abused the power of his office to help his chances at reelection. He used the enormous weight of the presidency and American foreign policy to push a foreign government to smear a political rival. And he got caught.
"Why is this conduct so serious? Why has the President’s behavior pushed the House of Representatives to exercise one of its most consequential constitutional responsibilities?
"Because corrupting an American election—particularly in cahoots with a foreign power—means corrupting American democracy. Our elections are the heart of our democracy... the foundation of what makes our system of government great—our republic, if we can keep it as Benjamin Franklin once said. If our elections aren’t fair, then our republic cannot stand.
"Anyone who tries to fix an election is taking away the power of the American people to choose their leaders. If it happens at any level of government, it’s toxic to our democracy. And this came from the highest level.
"In this case, it’s even more serious. Because what was the President willing to give up for this advantage? What price was he willing to pay?
"The price was our national security.
"When the President devised a shadow foreign policy that undermined our diplomacy and diplomats… when he held back assistance for Ukraine, who is embroiled in a war against Russia… when he pressured a foreign government to interfere in our elections—again—he sacrificed our security. He shook the faith of a loyal ally. He played right into the hands of Vladimir Putin. He weakened our country all because he thought it might help his reelection bid.
"Only the President has that power: to corrupt our foreign policy for political gain. And the moment he chose to do so—the moment he undermined our security in a scheme to undermine our democracy—whether he succeeded or not—and thank God he did not—at that moment, it became an abuse of power. And a president who abuses his power for personal gain is exactly what the Framers feared. It’s why impeachment is in the Constitution.
"So we need to pass these articles. The President’s actions have left us no choice. He cannot be allowed to undermine our democracy and tear apart the fabric that holds our country together. So I will vote for impeachment."