Monday, November 4, 2019

Trump allies assail impeachment on process while House Democrats promise open hearings soon


By Zack Budryk
11/03/19 01:27 PM EST



Democratic leadership on Sunday offered reassurances that the public phase of the impeachment inquiry would begin soon, while Republican allies of President Trump used their appearances on several Sunday morning shows to hammer what they say is an unfair process.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that open hearings were forthcoming but added that he could not commit to a specific timeline, as the process depends on what facts the probe uncovered.

“When [House Intelligence Committee Chairman] Adam Schiff [D-Calif.] is determined that he is through what he needs to have in terms of testimony and evidence, he will then, pursuant to the resolution, submit it to the Judiciary Committee, and the Judiciary Committee will proceed in a manner giving the rights to the president and to the Republicans that exceed, frankly, the rights that were available to the minority” during former President Clinton's impeachment, Hoyer said.

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) said transcripts from the closed-door hearings three House committees have been conducting would likely be released in the next week.

“I also think the transcripts are going to start to be released next week, and that’s going to give the American people an eye on exactly what we have heard, and what we have heard is growing evidence of grounds for impeachment,” Speier said on CBS’s “Face the Nation."

“I don’t know if they’re all going to be released on the same day, but they’re going to be very telling to the American people. There’s no question now whether there’s a quid pro quo,” she told CBS’s Margaret Brennan.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said the House would proceed with a full impeachment vote even if it was along party lines, pointing to polls showing increasing percentages of Americans favoring Trump’s impeachment and removal from office.

"I think when we talk about bipartisan support, we’re not limiting that to the Congress," Clyburn told Dana Bash on CNN's "State of the Union," adding that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) "knows the Congress very well, and she knows how Republican colleagues are prone to vote on these issues within the party."

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), meanwhile, said open hearings would take place “very soon.”

“The Republicans keep moving the goal post. They tell us they want us to be transparent. When we’re transparent, it’s not good enough,” Engel said on ABC’s “This Week.”

At the same time, Republicans continued to attack House Democrats and the closed-door hearings conducted over the past several weeks.

Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway assailed the House’s closed-door hearings, which Democratic leadership has defended as necessary to keep witnesses from coordinating their testimony.

“We've seen different people going up there and testifying. ... What we haven’t seen is the fullness of the eight or 10 hours each of them has spent testifying,” she told Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.” “I guess Adam Schiff’s growing mushrooms in the dark in his secret process, which is unfortunate because you cannot put that toothpaste back in the tube."

When Wallace pressed Conway on the fact that Republicans also held closed-door hearings when they had the majority, Conway responded, “I think there is no analogy to the ultimate result here or the ultimate goal here, which is to impeach a president and remove him from office.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) also blasted the closed-door hearings and called for the intelligence community whistleblower whose complaint led to the hearing to testify.

"I think that the whistleblower should come forward in an open hearing. ... He could come down to the basement, but he needs to answer the questions," McCarthy said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) blasted the resolution formalizing impeachment procedures that passed the House last week mostly along party lines, although Independent Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.) voted in favor of it and two Democrats voted against it.

"The resolution they just passed, in a very partisan way, gives the chairman the full discretion to kick the president’s legal counsel out of the room and to veto any witnesses that we would call," Scalise said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“They didn’t accept any Republican amendments. They didn't negotiate with the White House on that resolution,” he added. "They don’t want fair rules. They just want to hurt President Trump's chances to win reelection."

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