Friday on FNC's "Special Report" panel, "The Federalist" senior editor Mollie Hemingway argued that "people aren't buying" the Democrats' accusation that asking Ukraine to investigate possible corruption is an impeachable offense.
"It's not even just this week. He's actually been saying this going back months and saying it publicly, which is why I think people are having a hard time buying that what he was doing was somehow nefarious because he's been saying it clearly and explicitly, he wants to get to the bottom of some of these things," she explained.
BRET BAIER, HOST: Mollie, the president has seemed to change his strategy a bit, today talking to reporters directly, saying China and Ukraine should investigate because of corruption, he insisted, not politics. Mitt Romney tweeted out "When the only American citizen President Trump singles out for China's investigation is his political opponent in the midst of a Democratic nomination process, it strains credulity to suggest that it is anything other than politically motivated. By all appearances, the president's brazen and unprecedented appeal to China and to Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden is wrong and appalling." Thoughts?
MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, SENIOR EDITOR, "THE FEDERALIST": I think I'm going to disagree with the Guy a little bit on what the main issue is, because I think it actually relates to all of this, which is there has been an effort to get rid of Donald Trump going back many years. And the first efforts failed, whether it was going after the Electoral College or the Russia hoax, which went on for a very long period of time, and then it went into an attempt to get him out by claiming that by being upset at falsely being accused of being a traitor, that he was obstructing justice.
And it is in the midst of this and seeing how the Kavanaugh fiasco played out and whatnot that people just aren't willing to believe what they are told is some huge problem, particularly when it's running in the exact same style as these other things were run. And so I think the problem for Democrats is that people aren't really buying what they are selling about it being a problem. They know enough about what happened in 2016, that our intelligence agencies were working with foreign governments to meddle in our own election. And the idea that you can't investigate that without then getting in trouble again, I don't think sells with a lot of people.
BAIER: I guess my point is that first there was the talk of the whistleblower and the stories, and then the White House put out the transcript. And then it was right there, the transcript. And then there were questions about the transcript, whether it was edited or something. Then the president came out and talked to reporters and essentially said China and Ukraine should investigate the Bidens.
HEMINGWAY: It's not even just this week. He's actually been saying this going back months and saying it publicly, which is why I think people are having a hard time buying that what he was doing was somehow nefarious because he's been saying it clearly and explicitly, he wants to get to the bottom of some of these things. And so I just don't think people are buying it.
STEVE CLEMONS, "THE HILL": I appreciate Mollie's perspective. I guess I see it very differently. And I agree the American public is exhausted from these issues. I think they are tired of talking about impeachment and Russia-gate, and all of these factors. I do think, however, that when you read that transcript, you look at what Kurt Volker put into the public domain yesterday with the very clear exchange where the president seems to be wanting to get a deal, Zelensky wanted a deal to get a meeting in the White House, and that was related to a national security issue, which is whether you provide this aid to Ukraine or not.
I think this goes back, and it's very interesting. I will remember being on a stage with Tom Cotton at the convention, the Republican convention, asking him about the rumors I was hearing at the time about trying to interfere in the Republican platform over aid to Ukraine. And so this Ukraine thing has been around a lot, and it matters. When you see it in black and white from president doing it, I think it's something you can't walk away from. It doesn't mean that there aren't nefarious players trying to do it. I think you have to get --
BAIER: Is it impeachable?
CLEMONS: I do think it's impeachable.
HEMINGWAY: First off, we actually need to be accurate about what actually happened. Kurt Volker did testify yesterday, and what happened was he completely undermined the impeachment claims that were being put forward. He explicitly talked about what the strategy was and said that there was no quid pro quo and that was not an issue that the administration was dealing with. People are trying to redefine what he said as if he said something - -
CLEMONS: No, I think Kurt Volker was putting out there that he had great trust in the integrity of Joe Biden. I think you are right --
HEMINGWAY: No, he actually said.
CLEMONS: He did say that. I know he said that. But he also said, as you said, that the quid pro quo that many people were assuming was not there. But I think that is Kurt Volker's assumption. I think when you look at other pieces of the puzzle, I think people who are fair and judicious can make a different opinion.
GUY BENSON, FOX NEWS: I think we need to see the entire transcript. The White House has been transparent releasing a lot of documents. I think the House Democrats need to do the same thing.
And Mollie, your point is well taken. There is a boy who cried wolf problem for many of the president's critics, going to this well over and over again. We can still look at each instance individually, and the polling has shifted on this. A lot of people are taking this more seriously.
HEMINGWAY: I don't know if I even buy that. I understand that there have been push polls that are trying to encourage people toward impeachment. We can't even get an impeachment vote in the House. If it were so popular, I imagine we already would have had a vote.
BAIER: And what about that process and that tact by the White House, saying we're not going to cooperate until you take a vote.
HEMINGWAY: It's hard to take it seriously when they're not taking it seriously. Nancy Pelosi, you said it would be a good idea to put Schiff in front? She put Schiff in front, and he is someone who has a history of not telling the truth, whether it was falsely claiming that he had evidence of collusion with Russia, which is obviously not true --
BENSON: Which he still says, right?
HEMINGWAY: And falsely claiming, falsely describing what's happening with Ukraine. He's had so many problems here, it's hard to take it seriously.