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CNN "The Situation Room" - Transcript: Interview With Rep. Denny Heck (D-WA)



But joining us right now, Democratic Congressman Denny Heck, who questioned the impeachment witnesses today. He's a member of the Intelligence Committee.

It was a long day, a very historic and important day, Congressman. Thanks so much for joining us.

[18:10:00] Let me get your reaction to what we heard from Fiona Hill describing

the pressure on Ukraine as a domestic political errand, in her views.

What was your reaction to all this testimony today?

REP. DENNY HECK (D-WA): Well, it was one of the elements of the crime, her description of actually what went on here.

Look, Wolf, is where a criminal proceeding -- and it's a little bit analogous to -- not exactly the same thing -- the jury would bring back a unanimous verdict, and it wouldn't take them 10 minutes of deliberation to get there. The facts are in. He did it.

And now the only thing that remains to be resolved is, what is it that we in Congress are going to do about it?

BLITZER: Your Republican colleague Will Hurd of Texas, a former clandestine CIA officer who's not seeking reelection, he says, yes, it was a bungled foreign policy. But he also says it doesn't necessarily rise to the level of impeachable conduct.

Watch this.


REP. WILL HURD (R-TX): An impeachable offense should be compelling, overwhelmingly clear, and unambiguous. And it's not something to be rushed or taken lightly.

I have not heard evidence proving the president committed bribery or extortion.

I also reject the notion that holding this view means supporting all the foreign policy choices we have been hearing about over these last few weeks.


BLITZER: All right, Congressman, what's your response?

HECK: Well, Wolf, first of all, if the debate we were having was, gee, what he did was wrong, but does it or does it not rise to the level of an impeachable offense, I actually think that that would be really healthy for America, because, clearly, what he did was wrong.

The second question, whether or not it rises to an impeachable offense, obviously, is an individual judgment of each member of Congress.

But, Wolf, that's not what they're saying. That's what Will Hurd, not running for reelection, is saying, but that's not what the rest of them are saying. They're saying he didn't do anything wrong whatsoever, when, in fact, he did, when, in fact, the evidence that he did something wrong is overwhelming.

BLITZER: She -- Dr. Hill also warned that some of your Republican colleagues were still spreading that false narrative that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election on behalf of Hillary Clinton.

What's the risk of amplifying that message?

HECK: That Ukraine was the one that actually interfered in our election?


HECK: Well, there are multiple risks on multiple levels.

First of all, it throws into question America's commitment to Ukraine. It weakens them. That, therefore, strengthens Russia's hand with respect to Ukraine. They like this very much.

I dare say that Vladimir Putin is sitting in front of his fire in his easy chair rubbing his hands in glee at exactly what he has managed to pull off here, namely, cast doubt away from himself, when the intelligence community unanimously said, he's the one who did that, and put it onto Ukraine, thus calling into question our support for Ukraine, as the president did, on the predicate of a completely debunked conspiracy theory and false narrative.

It's bad all the way around. It compromises Ukraine's national security, and in so doing that, it compromises our national security.

Let's remember, Ukraine is the front line of defense against malign Russia investigation, today, Ukraine, tomorrow, Georgia, the day after, other places in Europe.

This is critically important for our national security and, frankly, for our values. We're talking about a nascent democratic republic, a fledgling democratic republic, who is finally getting on the right track,. It behooves us to support them.

BLITZER: All right, so what happens next? You're on the Intelligence Committee.

What, are you going to draft a report and send it to the Judiciary Committee, so they could prepare articles of impeachment? Is that what happens next?

HECK: That's part of the next transition phase. That's exactly correct.

But, in the meantime, as it turns out, we continue to get additional information. And, in the meantime, frankly, and what I would like to see happen next is that Ambassador Bolton and Secretary of State Pompeo do exactly what the very brave and courageous people who work for them did, which is to step forward and put patriotism for their country ahead of their own personal interests.

Colonel Vindman, Dr. Fiona Hill, Tim Morrison, all of whom work for John Bolton, they came forward. Ambassador Bolton, it's your turn.

Secretary of State Pompeo, the assistant secretary of state, David Hale, and the political officer from Kiev, David Holmes, who stepped forward today, they came forward. Secretary of State Pompeo, it's your turn.

And, Mick Mulvaney, you know better.

BLITZER: Let's see if they accept that invitation. All right, so far, they have not.

Congressman, thanks so much for joining us.

HECK: You're welcome.