Matt Gaetz grills impeachment witnesses over Democratic donations, dig at Barron Trump
House Judiciary Committee member Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., grilled three of the four impeachment panel witnesses for their past support for Democratic candidates, including Hillary Clinton, and admonished one for making a joke at the expense of the teenage son of President Trump.
Gaetz began his allotted five minutes of question time by responding to the previous questioner, House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem S. Jeffries, D-N.Y., who noted that Americans had elected a Democrat majority in the House to serve as a check on Trump.
"The will of the American people also elected Donald Trump to be president of the United States in the 2016 election, and there's one party that can't seem to get over it," Gaetz said, adding that unlike Jeffries' caucus, Republicans haven't focused all of their resources on attempting to remove the top official in the opposing party, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
"Frankly, we'd love to govern with you," he added.
Turning to the professors, he asked UNC-Chapel Hill Professor Michael Gerhardt to confirm that he donated to President Barack Obama.
"My family did, yes," Gerhardt responded.
Shifting his attention to Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman, Gaetz noted the educator has written several articles that portray Trump in a negative light.
"Mar-a-Lago ad belongs in impeachment file," Gaetz said, repeating the title of an April 2017 piece Feldman wrote for Bloomberg Opinion.
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Gaetz further pressed Feldman, asking him: "Do you believe you're outside of the political mainstream on the question of impeachment?"
Responding to Gaetz, Feldman said impeachment is warranted whenever a president abuses their power for personal gain or when they "corrupt the democratic process." The professor added he was an "impeachment skeptic" until the July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky.
After the exchange, Gaetz turned to Stanford Law Professor Pamela Karlan and challenged her on reported four-figure donations to Clinton, Obama and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.
"Why so much more for Hillary than the other two?" he added, smiling.
The Florida lawmaker went on to criticize Karlan for a remark she made while answering an earlier question by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas.
Karlan had told Jackson Lee that there is a difference between what Trump can do as president and the powers of a medieval king.
"The Constitution says there can be no titles of nobility, so while the president can name his son 'Barron', he can't make him a baron."
Gaetz fumed at the remark, saying it does not lend "credibility" to her argument.
"When you invoke the president's son's name here, when you try to make a little joke out of referencing Barron Trump… it makes you look mean, it makes you look like you are attacking someone's family: the minor child of the president of the United States."