Swalwell says Sondland transcript shows Trump was leading 'an extortion scheme'

Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., appeared on "The Story with Martha MacCallum" Tuesday and reacted to a released transcript that some Democrats argue is proof President Trump asked his Ukrainian counterpart for a quid pro quo.

"The revised statement by [EU] Ambassador [Gordon] Sondland, it aligns with what we've heard from Ambassador Taylor, Ambassador Volker and others. And the arrows continue to point in the direction that the president was leading in an extortion scheme," Swalwell said. "But I do think you see that there is a sharp, straight line from the president to Sondland and the president to Rudy Giuliani."


One of the most significant items from Tuesday's transcript release is that Sondland revised his prior testimony to say that he told a top Ukrainian official that U.S. aid would likely not resume until the country issues a corruption statement -- a revelation that was quickly hailed by Democrats of proof of the quid pro quo they have been alleging took place.

Swalwell said Tuesday's revelation show that the the House should proceed with public hearings.

"There's powerful evidence to suggest that we should go forward and have public hearings. Evidence is not a conclusion. The president is entitled to a fair process in public hearings," Swalwell said. "These witnesses will be under oath. They'll be before the cameras."

"You sound like you already made up your mind that he is guilty of extortion. You just said that," MacCallum pressed.

"The allegation of extortion is a serious one and the evidence so far has borne that out," Swalwell said. "The president has an opportunity, though, to cooperate and allow his witnesses like Nick Mulvaney, John Bolton and others to come forward and perhaps provide exonerating evidence."

MacCallum asked Swalwell if the hearings would ultimately "bring the American people over to your point of view."

"We have good reason to continue in our process and I'm not going to jump to a conclusion of guilt or innocence, yet," Swalwell said.


MacCallum brought up that some suggest Trump will throw his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani under the bus.  Swalwell said Trump cannot separate himself from Giuliani.

"He cannot separate himself from Rudy Giuliani because Rudy Giuliani is his agent," Swalwell said.