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Congressman Hank Johnson (D-Georgia)
In one of the strangest moments of the ongoing impeachment row in Washington, Democratic Congressman Hank Johnson asked fellow lawmakers to imagine the teenage daughter of Ukraine's president tied up in Trump's basement.
As the long hours of debate wore on during Thursday's impeachment hearing in the House Judiciary Committee, Johnson, a Georgia Democrat, argued there existed an "imbalance of power" between President Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart, offering a bizarre metaphor.
"They're standing there, President Trump is holding court. And he says, 'Oh, by the way, no pressure.' And you saw President Zelensky shaking his head as if his daughter was downstairs in the basement, duct-taped," Johnson said, drawing laughter from the room.
While the scenario Johnson conjured up was highly embellished, it was the latest Democratic attempt to undercut the White House, which insists President Trump placed no "pressure" on Zelensky, or imposed a "quid pro quo" on his government.
but Johnson challenged that claim, suggesting at one point during Thursday's hearing that Trump's height advantage over Zelensky proved a disparity of power between the two leaders.
The Democrat-controlled House launched an impeachment inquiry into the Trump-Zelensky phone call in September, after a White House whistleblower came forward with allegations that President Trump coerced Zelensky by leveraging US military aid to compel an investigation into his political rival, Joe Biden. Democrats introduced two articles of impeachment earlier this week as a result of the inquiry, which are set for a committee vote sometime late on Thursday night.