Democrat Congressman Says Impeachment Probe Will Follow Trump's Own Advice: 'We're Going to Focus on Substance'

While Donald Trump has repeatedly slammed the ongoing impeachment inquiry as a baseless "witch hunt," one Democratic congressman said that lawmakers are following the president's own advice on the probe.

Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York was questioned about the probe, and the impending vote in the House of Representatives to push the inquiry forward, during an appearance on CNN's New Day on Wednesday morning. Asked if any Republicans would be supporting the impeachment vote, Jeffries said that "we'll see what happens" and, if not, "that's on them."

"I think the question that we should be asking is consistent with what the president earlier today said. He said let's focus on substance," Jeffries said. "We know that the substance here is that he withheld $391 million in aid to Ukraine. Ukraine's a friend, Russia's a foe. Ukraine is a democracy, Russia is a dictatorship."

On Wednesday morning, Trump fired off a series of tweets claiming that Republicans are unified in opposing the impeachment inquiry. The president recently blasted GOP lawmakers who were not totally loyal to him regarding the impeachment probe, calling them "human scum."

"This Impeachment nonsense is just a continuation of the Witch Hunt Hoax, which has been going on since before I even got elected. [Republicans], go with Substance and close it out!" Trump wrote.

.....the call with the Ukrainian President was a totally appropriate one. As he said, “No Pressure.” This Impeachment nonsense is just a continuation of the Witch Hunt Hoax, which has been going on since before I even got elected. Rupublicans, go with Substance and close it out!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 30, 2019

Jeffries used Trump's own words against him, telling CNN that "the president was pressuring a foreign government to target an American citizen. That's an abuse of power. The president said focus on substance. We're going to focus on substance."

House Democrats have laid out the next steps in the impeachment process, unveiling a resolution earlier this week that details procedures for public hearings. The resolution is expected to come to a floor vote as early as Thursday.

"The House impeachment inquiry has collected extensive evidence and testimony, and soon the American people will hear from witnesses in an open setting. The resolution introduced today in the House Rules Committee will provide that pathway forward," said four Democrats—Adam Schiff, Jerrold Nadler, Eliot Engel and Carolyn Maloney—leading the impeachment process.

The inquiry began amid reports that Trump tried to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

In the month since the inquiry started, lawmakers have subpoenaed several Trump officials for documents relating to the Ukraine controversy. Vice President Mike Pence, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney were all called on to produce related information.

Most recently, national security official Alexander Vindman delivered damning testimony to lawmakers about the Ukraine affair. According to his prepared remarks, he told Congress that he was "concerned" about the communication between Trump and Zelensky because it could "undermine U.S. national security."

While Trump has dismissed the impeachment probe, polling shows that public support for removing him from office is growing. A Quinnipiac University poll released on October 23 showed that 55 percent of registered voters approved of the inquiry, up 4 percentage points from the week before.

donald trump IACP conference chicago
President Donald Trump arrives for an address to the International Association of Chiefs of Police convention on October 28 in Chicago. Scott Olson/Getty