NASHVILLE — As the Democratic-led U.S. House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday began historic public impeachment hearings to determine whether President Donald Trump used military aid to pressure Ukraine to investigate political opponents, political passions played out among some Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama congressmen and senators on social media.
"In the midst of today's latest charade against @POTUS, remember that there are 4 key points that Democrat's cherry-picked narrative cannot change," U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., tweeted. "These are called facts and facts seem to be few and far between in this partisan so-called investigation."
U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., launched a twitter attack against Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, posting: "Proven liar Adam Schiff 'doesn't know the whistleblowers name,' hmmmm like his office never met with the whistleblower?"
Tennessee Democrats were more muted.
U.S. Rep. Steven Cohen, of Memphis, retweeted House Democrats' link to the impeachment inquiry as two witnesses — Ambassador William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, and George Kent, deputy assistant secretary at the State Department — testified.
U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, a Nashville Democrat, retweeted a link to @just_security, noting it "has created a well-organized collection of documents related to the impeachment inquiry, including every subpoena, letter, released deposition, court filing, the whistleblower memo and complaint, and more."
The only tri-state lawmaker on the Intelligence Committee, Democratic U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, of Alabama, tweeted in advance of the hearing that "today, we'll hear from patriotic public servants who have spoken out to #DefendOurDemocracy. Ambassador Taylor & Deputy Assistant Sec. of State Kent have spent their careers putting American priorities first."
Republican U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, of Georgia, meanwhile, tweeted that "Congress' Article I responsibility is oversight of Article II, but what we see at this so-called impeachment hearing is not that. The work of the House to address trade, taxes, and funding of the government is being sidelined by political theater."
U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, of Tennessee, steered clear of impeachment entirely on Twitter, focusign instead on vaping issues.
"Here is the reality: 13.5 million Americans, including more than 5 million teenagers have reported using e-cigarettes, with 1.6 million teenagers vaping regularly, and these products have not met any @US_FDA rules or standards," the Republican chairman of the Senate Health Committee posted.
After Alexander called the lack of vaping standards an "unacceptable situation that demands our attention," one commenter replied with a message about Trump and Ukraine.
It featured an image of Trump pointing his index finger at Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy with the caption "Trump Extorted Ukraine For Personal Gain."
Another Tennessee Republican, U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, of South Pittsburg, got his digs in at the impeachment probe on Tuesday, tweeting that "caving to pressure, Adam Schiff is emerging from his secret lair to hold public impeachment hearings this week. Prepare to hear complaints from federal bureaucrats about Donald Trump's efforts to stop Obama Admin's foreign aid bonanza for corrupt Ukraine. Quid Pro Joe knows!"
That's a reference to former Vice President Joe Biden, a 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful.
Democrats began their Trump impeachment effort following a whistleblower's complaint that the president solicited a political favor from Zelenskyy to launch several investigations. One was into what the president believes was Ukraine's interference in his 2016 election with Democrat Hillary Clinton. The other involved Biden and his son, who became a board member of a Ukraine gas company while Biden was still vice president.
Democrats say the president threatened to hold up $400 million in promised U.S. aid to Ukraine. The whistleblower, who hasn't been publicly identified, in August warned in a July 25 phone call with Zelenskyy that Trump sought to pressure the new president to launch a politically charged investigation.
In his tweet's reference to four "key points," Fleischmann, an Ooltewah congressman, appears to be alluding to Republicans on three House committees conducting the Trump-Ukraine investigation, according to a GOP staff memo obtained earlier this week by the newsite Axios.
Axios reported Republicans have settled on "four key pieces of evidence" they believe will undermine Democrats' chief arguments for why Trump should be impeached.
Those arguments are that the July 25 call "shows no conditionality or evidence of pressure" and that Zelenskyy and Trump both say there was no pressure exerted during the call and that the Ukrainian government wasn't aware of a U.S. hold on security assistance at the time of the July 25 call, Axios reported.
Moreover, Republicans argue, the security aid did get to Ukraine in September with no investigation of Trump's political rivals occurring.
Axios noted the "memo fails to consider counterarguments that Democratic members have been making in the media for weeks."
Contact Andy Sher at email@example.com or 615-255-0550. Follow him on Twitter @AndySher1.