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As Impeachment Inquiry Moves to House Judiciary, GOP Continue to Attack the Process

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As Impeachment Inquiry Moves to House Judiciary, GOP Continue to Attack the Process

2019-12-02 18:45:00

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Doug Collins (Image source: Screenshot)

Republicans must feel like their strategy of not defending Donald Trump's actions in the shadow Ukraine strategy is working, as now that the impeachment inquiry is moving to the House Judiciary Committee, for the most part the Party is sticking together and continuing to offer no defense while attacking the impeachment process. 

GOP lawmakers spent Sunday morning hitting the political shows, criticizing the House Democrats' for conducting the impeachment inquiry.

Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, went after the timeline that the Democrats are pushing, placing more importance on having an impeachment vote in the House before Christmas, rather than having due process for Trump. 

"They want to get this president right now before everybody completely sees through the process sham," he said. "So we're rushing this."

He also believes House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) should testify so that Republicans can question him on his panel's involvement in the whistleblower's complaint of Trump's July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the efforts to cover up the shadow Ukraine policy. 

Collins noted that Schiff has compared his panel's inquiry to the impeachment proceedings of Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton conducted by independent prosecutors who allowed themselves to be questioned by Congress.

"He's put himself into that position," the congressman said of Schiff. "It's easy to hide behind a report. It's easy to hide behind a gavel and the Intelligence Committee's behind-closed-door hearings. But it's going to be another thing to actually get up and have to answer questions." 

Rep. Andy Briggs (R-AZ), who sits on the Judiciary Committee, believes proceedings will become more of a brawl as it moves to his panel. "It's a bunch of brawlers sometimes on the Judiciary Committee, so it should get pretty hot and under the collar as we go along," he told Host Mike Emanuel of "Sunday Morning Futures" on Fox News Channel.

"I don't think things have been done the way they've been done in the past, Mike, and so it causes some rancor, and it should be pretty — much more feisty, I would say, than the Intel Committee was." 

Judiciary Democrats, however, said on Sunday that the GOP is trying to distract from Trump's crimes by objecting to the impeachment process yet not mentioning anything about the facts that have been revealed.

Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) said on ABC News's "This Week" that the Democrats are "not going to play any games" and suggested Trump should stop stonewalling the process and refusing to allow witnesses to testify and provide documents. 

"They want to ... play a political game and tie the process up in the courts as long as they can and run the clock out," she said. "We're not willing to play that game."

Republicans are also continuing to go against the conclusion of previous investigations that it was solely Russia who interfered in the 2016 election. He is still pushing the conspiracy theory that Ukraine interfered as well, and did so to help the Democratic nominee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. 

Trump was trying to get Ukraine to conduct an investigation into this as well as former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. But instead of defending Trump's right to ask another country to conduct investigations of his opponents, Kennedy is pushing that theory, stating on NBC News' "Meet the Press," "I think both Russia and Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election."

Host Chuck Todd questioned whether Kennedy had been "duped" by the Russians, noting that U.S. intelligence officials briefed the Senate recently that "this is a Russian intelligence propaganda campaign in order to get people like you to say these things about Ukraine." 

Kennedy replied that he had not received this warning. "I wasn't briefed. Dr. Hill is entitled to her opinion," he said,  referring to former National Security Council adviser to Russia Fiona Hill who testified a few weeks back that the Ukraine interference theory "is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services."

What the GOP doesn't agree on is how much Trump and the congressional GOP should be involved. When Collins was interviewed on  Sunday morning, the White House had still not weighed in on whether Trump and counsel would testify before the Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday. 

The congressman offered that the White House may want to avoid the hearing on Wednesday, seeing it as "just another rerun" of information that was already covered in previous Judiciary Committee hearings. "This is a complete American waste of time right here," he said but indicated Republicans would be more willing to be involved in the future if Schiff's investigation was examined.

However, Judiciary Committee member Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) said on "This Week" that he thinks it "would be to the president's advantage" to have counsel in the hearings, "but I can also understand how he is upset at the illegitimate process that we saw unfold in the Intelligence Committee," he noted. 

Trump did not address the issue on Sunday but has said in the past that he would "love" for senior administration officials to testify. Yet, the White House did not allow them to, which he said is to protect the presidency.

Democrats suggested that the White House should cooperate, as an innocent person shouldn't have a problem with it. "We're certainly hoping that the president, his counsel, will take advantage of that opportunity if he has not done anything wrong," said Demings. "We're certainly anxious to hear his explanation of that." 

On Sunday evening White House counsel Pat Cipollone sent a five-page letter to the House Judiciary Committee, notifying them that the president will not be participating in the panel's first hearing, noting that Chairman Jerry Nadler's invitation "does not begin to provide the president with any semblance of a fair process."

However, Cipollone did not rule out the White House participating in the future, asking Nadler to list his plans for upcoming proceedings, also noting that Republicans should be allowed to call additional witnesses.  

"Even at this late date, it is not yet clear whether you will afford the president at least these basic, fundamental rights or continue to deny them," he wrote.

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