Politics

Former Obama aide urges Republicans to 'do some soul-searching' over Trump impeachment inquiry

Key Points
  • A Democratic-led inquiry is trying to determine whether President Trump improperly put pressure on Ukraine to force the country to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.
  • Speaking to CNBC's Karen Tso in Paris, Valerie Jarrett, who worked as a senior adviser to Obama from 2009 to 2017, said many people are "deeply troubled" by the testimony.
  • In response to Sondland's shocking testimony, Trump told reporters on the White House lawn that he wanted "nothing" from Ukraine.
VIDEO5:1305:13
'Stunning': Former Obama advisor on Sondland's allegations about Trump

A long-time aide to former President Barack Obama is urging Republicans in the Senate to "remember their oath of office" as they consider an impeachment of President Donald Trump.

A Democratic-led inquiry is trying to determine whether Trump improperly put pressure on Ukraine to force the country to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, delivered testimony that stunned both Republicans and Democrats. He said that not only was there a "quid pro quo" — a Latin term meaning to exchange one favor for another — but that he and other officials were acting under direction from the president himself.

Speaking to CNBC's Karen Tso in Paris on Thursday, Valerie Jarrett, who worked as a senior adviser to Obama from 2009 to 2017, said many people are "deeply troubled" by the impeachment testimony at the House Intelligence Committee.

It is "stunning that a U.S. president would put anything above the interests of the United States," Jarrett said. "You are there for one purpose — and one purpose only — and that's to look out for all of us."

'I want nothing'

In response to Sondland's shocking testimony on Wednesday, Trump read a statement from a pad of paper with notes written in black block letters. He told reporters on the White House lawn:  "I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell [Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy] to do the right thing."

Only three U.S. presidents before Trump have faced serious impeachment proceedings, though Congress has never removed one from the White House. And, even if Democrats eventually impeach Trump, the Republican-held Senate may decide not to find him guilty to remove him from office.

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Trump: I told Sondland 'I want nothing' from Ukraine

When asked what it would take for Republicans in the Senate to support impeachment, Jarrett replied: "That's a very good question because they do seem to keep moving the ball."

"I think that they, too, have to do some soul-searching and remember their oath of office and really ask themselves: 'Does this make sense in terms of the United States?'"

The final impeachment hearing of the week got underway on Thursday, with witnesses Fiona Hill, a former Europe and Russia expert at the White House, and David Holmes, an embassy official in Kiev.