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How Lawmakers Are Reacting To Marie Yovanovitch's Deposition


And for some context on that conversation recorded earlier today, we have NPR's congressional correspondent Susan Davis, who was listening in.

Hi, Sue.


SHAPIRO: What stood out to you from that - from Congressman Swalwell there?

DAVIS: One thing I think is interesting is we know that Democrats have - are almost unanimously on board for this impeachment inquiry. But the question of whether they bring forward articles of impeachment still seems to be an open question, but not when I'm listening to Democrats like Eric Swalwell in the end there, who seems fairly conclusively in his mind that articles of impeachment are all but certain it has been announced but that the House seems more and more likely, as they have over this two week break where they've been conducting this investigation - certainly move closer in that direction.

SHAPIRO: It reminds me of something Adam Schiff, the chairman, said a couple weeks ago. We already have the smoking gun.

DAVIS: Exactly. I think the question that Democrats have now is - and by the standards that the speaker has met - is, does the public support them, and do they have enough case to make to the public? A lot of Democrats think they already have the facts that they need to make the case for impeachment, including the White House efforts to obstruct the investigation going on on Capitol Hill. Are Democrats willing to take that step if they don't believe that the public's behind them is one of the questions we're going to be watching.

SHAPIRO: And are you getting a read on how Republicans are responding to this testimony they heard from Ambassador Yovanovitch today?

DAVIS: Well, as he's discussed, a lot of this is happening behind closed doors. We do know a lot of Republican staff for the three committees involved are allowed to question witnesses. Members are allowed to attend, although it's been a mixed bag of who shows up and who does not. Republicans have really been upset with this process, and they've echoed the White House. They've said that, you know, in past impeachment proceedings, the full House is called for a vote to sort of structurally, formally make the inquiry happen and, in certain cases in the past, give the minority rights, like powers to issue their own subpoenas. I don't think Democrats are likely to give Republicans subpoena power in this investigation, but it does certainly give Republicans a talking point to sort of attack the integrity of the investigation and, I think, in the sort of war of public opinion, make a case to the public that this is kind of game from the start - that Republicans haven't been given the kind of input that past minority parties have been.


And, Sue, this is Mary Louise here. I just wanted to jump in and ask your take on one thing that Congressman Swalwell told me there. When we were talking about the two Giuliani associates arrested this week, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, he was talking about the campaign contributions for which they've been indicted, was talking about the timing and suggesting this was around the same time that the U.S. ambassador - the rumors about the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Yovanovitch, started. Do we know that? Is there any evidence these two things are linked in some way?

DAVIS: We don't have discernible evidence that those two things are linked. One of the congressmen that was identified in the indictment - or not identified, but has been identified - is former Congressman Pete Sessions of Texas, who was one of the people that called for the Ukrainian ambassador to step down. He put out a statement saying he took no official action. He did take campaign money, but he did not take any official action. In the words of the president, no quid pro quo.

KELLY: All right. That is NPR's Susan Davis listening in and giving us some context there.

Thanks as always, Sue.

DAVIS: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Susan Davis is a congressional correspondent for NPR and a co-host of the NPR Politics Podcast. She has covered Congress, elections, and national politics since 2002 for publications including USA TODAY, The Wall Street Journal, National Journal and Roll Call. She appears regularly on television and radio outlets to discuss congressional and national politics, and she is a contributor on PBS's Washington Week with Robert Costa. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., and a Philadelphia native.