The Utah Republican addressed his colleagues on the House Intelligence Committee as the second week of public impeachment hearings came to a close.
“Everyone knows what they're going to do next,” Stewart said of the panel's Democrats. “They're going to impeach the president. They're going to send it on to the Senate. But that is the good news. That's good news.
“The leadership of this committee has been unfair and dishonest,” Stewart continued, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. “I know we hear these crocodile tears from some of my colleagues who are heartbroken because they finally have to impeach this president. And we know that's absurd. They're not heartbroken. There's no prayerful tears over this. They're giddy over this. And there's not a person in the country who doesn't know that.”
“The leadership of this committee has been unfair and dishonest. They're giddy over this [impeachment inquiry]. And there's not a person in the country who doesn't know that.”
The next step in the impeachment process involves the House Intelligence Committee sending a report to the House Judiciary Committee, which will then decide whether to file articles of impeachment against Trump. If the likely outcome occurs, the Senate is expected to hold a two-week-long trial that could begin as early as January, The Washington Post reported.
“These proceedings have been anything but fair. The Senate has an opportunity to fix that,” Stewart said, according to Deseret News of Salt Lake City. “I am confident they will. And I look forward to them completing the job that we could have done here.”
Stewart drew national attention last week when questioning former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who testified that she could supply the panel with no information regarding criminal activity or bribes that Trump may have been involved with. The White House praised Stewart on Twitter, saying it took Stewart just “30 seconds” to get the answer House Democrats spent seven hours trying to avoid.
According to Stewart, Democrats produced no evidence of bribery or extortion, and elicited from witnesses no “firsthand” knowledge of a quid pro quo agreement when Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for an investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings in the country, The Tribune reported. A transcript of the July 25 phone call between the two leaders showed Trump also asked for information about the hacking of the DNC server in 2016 – an issue that came up in Thursday’s hearing.
Also Thursday, Trump had lunch with two of his most vocal GOP critics in the Senate -- another Utah Republican, Sen. Mitt Romney, and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine – as the likelihood of an impeachment trial rises, Politico reported. The president has met with about 40 Republican senators this fall in an effort to communicate his account of the July 25 call that first prompted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to kick off an informal impeachment process in September.
Meanwhile, the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday heard testimony from two witnesses -- former National Security Council aide Fiona Hill and U.S. State Department official David Holmes.
Holmes, who described how he overheard a phone call this summer with Trump about wanting Ukraine to conduct political investigations, testified he eventually understood that “demand” to be linked to delayed military aid. Hill clashed with Republicans after accusing some lawmakers of embracing the “fictional narrative” that only Ukraine -- and not Russia -- interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Fox News’ Alex Pappas contributed to this report.